Would you like to learn about 3 important areas where you need knowledge, to effectively advocate for your child? Would you like resources to find more information on these areas? If you are the parent of a child with a disability, you need to have information in three different areas to help your child receive an appropriate education. This article will discuss these three areas, as well as give you easy to use resources.Area 1: You must know the educational laws that will help your child receive an appropriate education. The laws are: The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), which is the federal law governing education for children with a disability, states law that must comply with the federal law, and No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB),Area 2: You must learn advocacy skills to help you learn how to advocate effectively for your child. An organization that gives lots of helpful information is the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY); they can be found at http://www.nichcy.org.Area 3: You must have knowledge about case law in special education that affects your child. For Example: if you child has behavioral issues, you should learn what rulings have already been made in this area. Case law means due process rulings, court rulings from State and Federal court, and Supreme Court cases. A wonderful organization that you should join is the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA). There is a small membership fee, but it is worth it. COPAA can be found at http://www.copaa.org. COPAA has a membership area where you can find Case law, in the area that you are interested in.By learning these three areas, you will well be on your way to being an effective advocate for your child. It will take you time to learn about these three areas, but it will be worth it! Remember: Your child’s life is at stake!
Special education has come a long way from the days when it was all about hiding children away that could not be classed as normal. Children who were in the system went from relative isolation, to integration, to inclusion and today we are moving to the point of encouraging empowerment and self determination. It has become a well established system that caters to the needs of students who have an IQ within a certain range (too high or too low) or have behavioral disorders that dictate the need for them to receive additional attention.In addition it also caters for those who have learning disabilities, speech or language impairments, mental retardation, emotional disturbance, other health impairments, multiple disabilities, hearing impairments, orthopedic impairments, autism, visual impairments, traumatic brain injury, developmental delay, deaf-blindness, etc.Values To Guide Dealing With Children In Special EducationIn their book Exceptional Lives: Special Education in Today’s Schools, the authors (Turnbull, Turnbull, Shank, Smith and Leal) came up with several guidelines that need to be considered when dealing with people who require additional help.(1) Envisioning Great ExpectationsWe are not to place limitations on students capabilities. It is always in the interest of the student to ‘develop new visions of what is possible’ and strive to see these visions becoming a reality.
(2) Enhancing Positive ContributionsSeek to create opportunities for students to contribute positively to those close to them. This awakens a feeling of empowerment in the individuals especially if it includes their families, schools and communities.(3) Building On StrengthsEvery body has strengths, whether we know them or not. Finding out these strengths and building on them should be one of the key focuses. Another idea is often to find the weaknesses in a person and strive to turn them into strengths.(4) Acting on ChoicesIt is extremely important for families and their children to know that they have the right and the opportunity to direct their own lives. They are not confined to the limitations set by anyone else, but rather they can build self-determination by acting on their own preferences.(5) Expanding Relationships
As a confidence builder and to improve their quality of life, connecting with friends, teachers and others works to achieve this. It exposes them to other people, their strengths and weaknesses and their way of life – a great way to build their world view of life.(6) Ensuring Full CitizenshipAs part of their civil rights it is important for all parties to recognize that “less able does not mean less worthy”. Despite their limitations or disabilities, everyone is entitled to participate in American Life.In short, the special education system has moved from seclusion to inclusion and now to inspiration! If your child can achieve it, they strive to make it happen – and most times, they will.
There are many special education courses offered in school today. Whether a child needs complete special education or just assistance in understanding one or two classes, special education can change the way that a child learns. Before you send your child to special education classes you need to determine what is best for your child using these five tips.Does the special education class teach what your child needs? If the class is taught in the same way that the regular classes are taught, chances are your child will not benefit from this type of special education. Make sure that there is an individualized plan as well as a group plan to teach and enhance learning. If not, have a meeting with the teacher to determine if there is anything you can work out between the two of you.Do the teacher and assistant display enough patience and compassion to deal with the different attitudes and situations with each child? You can determine that by sitting in on one or two classes to monitor the way the class is taught and how they respond to each child’s needs. If a child does not understand something, you need to know how quickly they respond and how do they help. It’s important to feel comfortable knowing that when you child goes to school he or she will get the help they need. You also want to know if there is enough assistance when the teacher needs it the most.Are there volunteers in the school that can pull in when necessary? Can you volunteer as well? Schools should never turn down any type of assistance they can get when it comes to making school safe, running effectively, and appreciating all parents and guardians that want the best for their child.Are there special programs that assist the special education classes? There should be community assistance in order to give the students hands on visuals in order to understand the classroom lessons. Sometimes children learn more when they actually see it. For example, a fireman wears the gear, drives the truck, and helps to contain a fire but having a fireman come to the class room dressed in gear and tell stories of their jobs is much more effective for some students. This is sometimes easier for children to learn while others can learn strictly by studying it in a book.You also want to see how often your child’s teacher will be performing parent teacher meetings. Once a month is ideal even if it is over the phone but if it needs to be more often then you should be willing to do so. It’s important that you and your child’s teacher work together to create a working plan for your child’s education. After all, your child is the reason why you are there to begin with. If you cannot establish a good working relationship with your child’s teacher then you may be fighting with the system all year and the only one who suffers from this is your child.