What Schools Can’t Tell You In Meetings

When attending a meeting to discuss your child’s needs, there are a few phrases you should never hear. Below are just a few:

  1. ANY word regarding money. Never, never, never should an employee of the school say anything about what services can and can not be offered because of monetary concerns.  IEP Team members make decisions for a child based on the child’s need and the data to show that need.
  2. “We can’t test your child until we have tried RTI (or MTSS)”. This statement is false. Take a look at our blog What Can I Do if My Child is Struggling in School?
  3. “This meeting will only be an hour because (insert any reason here: the general education teacher has to leave, we have another meeting scheduled, etc).” The meeting should last as long as necessary to address the concerns of every member of the team.  Who Is On Your Child’s Team?
  4. “We aren’t going to add your statement to the DEC 5 because we don’t agree with you.” As a member of your child’s team, you have the right to add any statement regarding your child and the meeting, even if they don’t agree. The Importance of a DEC5
  5. “We can’t make that decision today.” At every meeting, there should be a person who has the authority to make decisions. This person is called the LEA representative. They should know and understand laws regarding special education, policies within the school and district, and have knowledge of the budget.
  6. “We don’t accept outside evaluations.”  In North Carolina, all evaluations must be considered by the IEP Team.  If you offer an outside evaluation documenting  your child’s needs, the Team needs to discuss it and see how and if it is is relevant to the over all data for your child.

These are just a few of the statements we have had parents tell us members of their child’s team have said. There are a few statements that we have experienced at IEP meetings for our own children. These statements are not shared with you to cause anger toward your child’s team, but instead for you to know where to establish boundaries with the team as you reach a consensus about what is in the best interest of your child.  When you have a question or concern, always start by going to your child’s case manager or EC teacher first.  If you are not able to get your question answered, you can then ask the EC Coordinator or Director next for your school or district.

NCDPI has an excellent website with information http://www.dpi.state.nc.us .Under “departments” click “exceptional children.”

Another fantastic resource for parents is the ECAC (Exceptional Children’s Assistance Center).  http://www.ecac-parentcenter.org

You are also always welcome to e-mail us with any questions at confidentsolutions7@gmail.com.

 

With Appreciation,

Wendy and Christina

 

 

 

 

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Shout Out to Special Education Staff

As the beginning of the school year approaches, Christina and Wendy would like to say THANK YOU to all of the special education staff, including related service providers (such as speech language, occupational, and physical therapists) working in public schools. Your job isn’t easy and we appreciate you! We have first hand knowledge of how hard you work and how much you care.

Parents, please remember that most of the people who work with your children choose this profession because they want to make a difference in your child’s life. They don’t come with ill intentions or to do your child harm.

Teachers, please remember that as parents of children with disabilities, we can struggle to fully release our children. We want what’s best for our children and most parents want to form a partnership with you.  We like to share information about our children and feel like we’ve been heard.  As parents of children with unique needs, we will do our best to be open to hearing your voice throughout the year as well.  We want to build a partnership founded in trust.

Let’s all remember that it’s ok to disagree about how to reach our common goals. Recognize, as parents and educators, that sometimes conflict can be a learning tool to find a compromise and practice compassion. Maybe you give more this time and maybe they do next time. Listen with your whole heart to what the other person is saying. Try and be open, seeing it from their perspective. Parent’s know more about their child than anyone else.  Teachers see a  side of your child at school that you may not be aware of.  Come to your meetings with the child’s best interest at heart, leaving past negative experiences at the door.  This just may be the year that your child has a Rock Star special educator.  When we start the year off with gratitude and positive thoughts, it helps set a tone of love and acceptance for your child in school.

Sending love and appreciation to all of the special educators, related service providers and parents of children with special needs.

Wendy and Christina

 

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