Your Special Education Responsibilities
Last week, I wrote about your rights when it comes to your child’s education, as parents have a key role in the special education process. This week, we’re going to talk about your responsibilities.
As the parent of a child with special needs, you have the responsibility to:
- Expect a free, appropriate public education (FAPE) for your child. It’s the law.
- Keep a comprehensive, organized file on your child and keep records. There may come a time when there are questions about your child that you will want to discuss, as well as meetings, phone calls, and emails. It is really easy to forget important information that isn’t written down. I can’t stress this enough – document everything.
- Ask questions to clarify information. If there is anything that you don’t understand, it is your responsibility to ask for an explanation. Believe me; education terms can be super confusing. Don’t hesitate to ask for them to explain.
- Listen and consider the information from other professionals and be willing to share your knowledge and relevant information with them. Your observations can be a valuable resource in your child’s progress.
- Stay informed and monitor your child’s progress. Ask for reports, periodically. If your child is not progressing, discuss it with the teacher and together, determine whether the program should be modified to meet the needs. As the parent, YOU can initiate changes to your child’s program.
- Be professional when speaking or meeting with the school staff. These folks work for your child and your family. They deserve respect, as do you.
- Make sure the goals and objectives on your child’s IEP or IFSP are specific. This can be confusing, as some educators like to write vague, and it can be difficult to overcome if a problem arises. As the parent, you need to know the what/where/when/why’s. Why is it important to jump on one foot, pass a ball, use a crayon? Make sure your child’s goals are specific to their needs.
- Try to resolve any issues that may occur with your child’s assessment, placement, or program directly with the school. If resolution cannot happen, you need to be informed of what your next steps are. And remember, Military Special Needs Network can help provide you with the guidance you need to pursue your case.
- Join a support organization, like Military Special Needs Network, or a local parent organization, if there is one in your area. Parents share their knowledge, experiences, and can be an effective force on behalf of your family. If you need help locating a local support group, let us know – we can help!
- Remember you are your child’s best advocate, because you know them better than anyone else does. YOU are the most important person your child has in his/her life. And don’t hesitate to ask for help – that’s what MSNN is here for!