6 Ways To Overcome Anger At Special Education Personnel For The Good Of Your Child

Are you the parent of a child with autism that has had major conflicts, with special education personnel? Has your school district developed an IEP for your child with a severe learning disability, but refuses to follow it? Have you spent thousands of dollars trying to ensure that your child receives a free appropriate public education (FAPE)? Anger is a very common emotion that you may feel, especially if your child is denied needed educational services. This article will discuss how to turn that anger around, and use it to benefit your child’s education.

Many parents experience a lot of difficulty, when trying to get their child with a disability a free appropriate public education. In fact it is my belief that few children with disabilities in the U.S. actually receive FAPE.

Some special education personnel use tactics such as blaming the parent, in order to not have to pay for expensive special education services. A lot of anger that parents feel is justified anger. But if the anger becomes explosive, you will not be able to help your child. Use these tips to help you control your anger, to benefit your child:

1. If you are in an IEP meeting, and you feel yourself getting angry, ask for a small break. Go outside, or walk in the hallway. This will give you a chance to calm yourself down, so that you can be a more effective advocate, for your child.

2. Stand up to school personnel in an assertive manner, if they try and blame you for your child’s difficulty. You do not cause your child’s autism, or learning disability, or behavioral difficulty. This is a tactic used by many special education personnel, and sometimes catch a parent off guard.

If you do not stand up to the personnel blaming you, your anger may get the best of you. Remember that being assertive means staying as calm as possible, but working toward getting your child the services they need.

3. Focus on what educational and related services that your child needs. Bring a list of items that you would like to discuss, and check them off as you discuss them. Write down what you are promised for your child, and make sure that it is written in your child’s IEP. By focusing on your child, you will be less likely to get angry.

4. Repeat, repeat, repeat. Use this strategy, when special education personnel try and change the subject, when you are asking for needed educational services for your child. For Example: We were discussing my child’s need for Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), please stop changing the subject and address this issue. This strategy works; refuse to move the discussion along until the important issues are discussed.

5. Bring a friend or advocate with you to any meetings that you are concerned may become adversarial. Also consider tape recording, special education personnel are often careful of what they say when it is being tape recorded.

6. If you find yourself getting angry over a dispute; write a letter to special education personnel. In the letter, clearly state what the dispute is; stick to facts, keep emotion out. By writing a letter you will decrease your chances of letting your anger overtake you.

By using these easy strategies you will be able to keep your anger in check, as you advocate for an appropriate education for your child. Good Luck in your advocacy journey, remember you are not alone!

5 Things to Do If Special Education Personnel Refuse to Test Your Child For Eligibility

Do you have a child that you think might have dyslexia or another learning disability, and your school is refusing to test them for it? Are you concerned that your child may have autism or pervasive developmental disorder and your school district states that they will not test them? If your school district is refusing to conduct a comprehensive assessment on your child to determine special education eligibility, this article is for you. This article will discuss 5 things that you can do as a parent, if your school district is refusing to evaluate your child.

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states under the Child Find section that: school districts are required to locate, identify and evaluate all children that may have a disability. Also someone transitioning from Early Intervention (birth-three years old), must be evaluated to determine if they are eligible for special education services. School districts are not allowed to depend on screening to determine eligibility for special education.

Here are 5 things you can do if your child is refused special education eligibility testing:

1. Gather your evidence together about their disability, and there need for special education services. Perhaps reports of your child’s disability, copies of state and district wide testing to show academic need, any documentation of emotional and behavioral difficulty, any evidence of social problems, and also any diagnosis that has been given by their Dr.

2. Take your child to get an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) with a qualified professional! You will have to pay for the evaluation, but you may be able to be reimbursed later. To find a good evaluator, ask other parents, or contact a local disability organization. Before you make the appointment make sure that the evaluator is not the present employee of any school district, is willing to do comprehensive evaluations in several areas, is willing to write a comprehensive report not only about testing but about what services your child needs. If the evaluator is a present employee of a school district, or waffles on specifically stating what services are needed, find a different evaluator! Getting copies of testing without specific recommendations is like paying for half an evaluation!

3. When the report is received (and your child has been found to have a disability and educational need) contact your school district in writing and send them a copy of the report. Ask that an eligibility conference be held again, since new information has now been received. School districts must consider any independent evaluations brought by parents.

4. Before the eligibility conference, try and find an experienced parent or an advocate to go with you to the meeting. The eligibility conference is the most important conference in special education. With the new information your child hopefully will be found eligible for special education (a child must have two things to be eligible for special education: a disability and educational needs). If the school district uses the information from the IEE ask for reimbursement.

5. If after all of this trying your child still is found not eligible, your only option may be to file for a due process hearing. This hearing is very formal and is heard in front of a hearing officer, not a judge. Try and find an experienced parent or advocate, to help you in this process.

Even if your child is found not eligible there are options available to you! Do not give up because your child is depending on you!

Can a Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule Be Used by Special Education Personnel to Help My Child

Are you the parent of a young child who you believe has Autism or Pervasive Developmental Disorder(PDD)? Are special education personnel in your district refusing to acknowledge this diagnosis, despite a lot of evidence? Many school districts refuse to admit that a child has autism, because they do not want to provide the special education and related services that a child needs! But this tool can be used by special education personnel to see if your child has autism.

Below are 9 things that you must know about the ADOS:

1. Purpose: Allows an accurate diagnosis of autism and pervasive developmental disorder

2. Can be used for children who are 2 years up to adulthood.

3. Takes 30-45 minutes for a qualified examiner to use this tool.

4. The person using the tool must have prior education, training, and experience in using this type of diagnostic took. They must also have extensive experience with autism and PDD!

5. The person using the tool must take a clinical training workshop, and at the end receive a certificate of completion. Be sure and check that any special education personnel using this tool, has a certificate of completion.

6. Person should have at least 8 practice sessions to make sure that they are familiar with this diagnostic tool.

7. Typically the people who are using this tool are Doctors, Clinical Psychologists, School Psychologists, Speech Pathologists, Certified Occupational Therapists etc.

8. While this is not an objective test it is far from subjective. The ADOS is a schedule of observations which has been developed over several decades and has been found to be effective!

9. This tool should be used in conjunction with other rating scales, such as the Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS)! A full developmental history of the child, a medical history, developmental and academic evaluations, testing of adaptive functioning, and information on the child’s sensory integration function, should also be included. As well as Speech Language evaluation and Occupational Therapy evaluations if needed.

Parents can become very frustrated with school districts who refuse to acknowledge that their child has Autism! A private independent evaluator who is trained can also do the ADOS on your child, so you do not have to depend only on school district personnel. Bring any private evaluations to special education personnel and they must consider the results! Keep fighting your child is worth it!