The Basics

    • Develop relationships with the teachers who work with your child.
    • Get information and know your options.
    • Remember that the people that you are working with also care for your child.
    • You need to be credible and informed to have people listen to and respect what you say. Be sure to learn what your rights are.
    • Be aware that parents have a lot of power. Don’t wait for two months to check in for results. If something is not resolved quickly, work on it. Teachers don’t always have as much leverage as you think.
    • You may be able to help your child’s teacher resolve something much faster. Work as a team.
    • Remember that working with the school can be a very emotional, personal process because this is your child. It’s very easy to feel defensive. Try to describe your needs in behavioral terms, not emotional terms.
    • Keep things in perspective: Ask yourself, “Is what my child doing typical for his age group, or does his behavior have to do with his disability?” Encourage those who work with your child to do so, too.
      Know that everything you do is not written in stone. You can change things. Just because you decided something at the end of June doesn’t mean you have to do it for the next year. You can change it at the end of October if it’s not working. You can call the committee back and ask to reevaluate the situation.
    • Reaffirm that “I don’t expect you to fix my child” but to help him or her learn.
    • Remember to think of your child first. The disability is just part of who your child is. Remind people of your child’s strengths. Encourage teachers to praise him or her.

    Used by permission from the National Information Center for Children and Youth with Disabilities (NICHCY).

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