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 Top Parental Special Education Advocacy Tips to Benefit Your Child!

My top 5 advocacy tips:

1. Trust your instincts. If you think, your child has disabilities in certain areas trust yourself. No one knows your child like you do, and you are the best judge of what will help your child learn. It is my experience that special education personnel may try and tell you that your instincts are wrong, but only accept this, if there is concrete evidence to back it up. You are the only advocate that your child has, and they are depending on you to advocate for needed related and special education services.

2. Important educational issues need to be handled by letters not telephone calls or e mails, so that you can begin developing a paper trail for documentation, you may need in the future, to help you in a dispute with special education personnel. As far as sending e-mails to special education personnel, I do not like to use e-mail, as e-mails are kept in an electronic record, and not in the child’s written educational record.

If you have a verbal conversation with school personnel and want to document the conversation, you can always write a short letter to the person that you had the conversations with. Try and keep the letter to one page, date it, and give a summary of the conversation. Also, keep a copy for yourself.

3. If special education personnel say something that does not sound right to you, ask them: “Please show me in writing where in Federal or State law it states you have the right to do what you want to do or not do what I asked you to do to benefit my child’s education.” In my opinion, this is one of the most important advocacy skills that parents need to learn, because of the amount of misinformation that is given to parents. If school personnel cannot show you in writing from Federal or State law where it states they have the right to do something or do not have to do something you asked them to do, you know that they are not being truthful.

Use the same procedure if school personnel state that they have to do something, or cannot do something because it is school policy-ask to see the policy in writing, and also ask for a transcript of the board meeting where the policy was passed.

4. If your school district evaluates your child for disabilities and states that your child does not have any disabilities (even though you believe they do), and is not eligible for special education services, you have the right to an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) at public expense (which means that the school district pays for it). You must disagree with the school’s evaluation, (could be over the actual testing, the areas tested, the interpretation of the testing, the findings and conclusion of the testing, etc) to be able to receive and obtain an IEE at public expense.

5. Educate yourself on all laws related to special education and disabilities and requirements so that when your school district tries to say things that are not truthful, you have the information to stand up to them, for the benefit of your child. Learn about State Complaints, Mediation and Due Process to help you resolve any disputes that you have with special education personnel.

By following my top five tips you will well be on your way to successfully advocating for needed services for your child!

Online Education Technology

Distance learning as a form of education has been developed before computer network advent, gradually increasing the range of used technologies. First they introduced a so-called case-technology: well-structured training materials were completed in a special set (“case”), which was then sent to a student for independent study. Over time, paper pamphlets and books were supplemented by records on magnetic media and CD-ROM, and teachers began using television technology conduct classes and lectures. Students still had to periodically attend full consultation of teachers (tutors) or instructors in specially created remote (regional) training centers.

The World Wide Web provided basis for network technology development to share knowledge, providing students and teachers with electronic books and libraries, convenient testing systems, as well as means of communication. Internet not only combines all previously known tools of training, but also significantly expands their list, has a significant impact on information culture in educational environment.

Types and forms of learning via the Internet

Most of learning centers can be divided into three groups according to the degree of “immersion” into the Internet.

The first group includes institutions, which work is based entirely on Internet technologies. A choice of course, its payment, training students, transfer of control tasks and their verification, as well as passing interim and final examinations are carried out via the Web. Such training centers are sometimes called “virtual universities” and not numerous because of high requirements for software program equipment and staff training, as well as the need for substantial initial investments.

Second, the largest group is represented by schools combining a variety of traditional forms of full-time and distance learning with modern innovations. For example, some universities transfer a part of their program courses into virtual form, and distance learning centers at the same time do not abandon the practice of classroom examinations. There may be many options here, but in each case only a part of educational process is computerized.

The third group includes learning centers using Internet only as internal communication environment. Their websites offer information on training programs (plans), seminars, and library catalogs.

Courses proposed in virtual learning systems can be divided into two types: credit and non-credit. “Credit” is a course approved at an accredited academic institution. A student passes it as part of curriculum for any degree and uses it as a step on a way to get a degree. (Each course has its own weight in credit hierarchy).

“Non-credit” courses include those designed to obtain additional or post-graduate education (e.g. for training) and not leading to a degree.

In fact, institutions offering non-credit courses form a system of “open education”. They emphasize the value of training program as it is, not caring about prestige of diplomas issued or weight of credit.

6 Things That Special Education Personnel Can Do to Decrease Restraint and Seclusion in Their School

Are you the parent of a child with autism or another disability that is very concerned about your child’s safety at school, due to negative behavior? Has your child been physically or emotionally injured by restraint and seclusion, by special education personnel? This article will discuss 6 ways that school districts can deal with behavior rather than relying on restraint and seclusion!

Restraint is defined as any manual method, physical, material, equipment that immobilizes or reduces the ability of an individual. In school districts they mainly use holding techniques. Prone restraints (where the child is held face down) are the most dangerous and cause the most incidence of injury and death!

Seclusion is defined as the placing of a person involuntarily in a room or area alone and prevent them from leaving. Some schools have started relying on time out rooms to seclude children with disabilities when they misbehave.

Below are 6 things that special education personnel in your district can do to decrease or eliminate the use of restraint and seclusion in their schools:

1. They can have school wide policies in place with specific instructions on when restraint and seclusion will be used; and also policies developed on releasing the information to the public. By keeping written charts on when it is used, and releasing the information to the public on when it is used, will actually cause restraint and seclusion to be used less. The danger comes when special education personnel keep the information secret, and refuse to share it with the public; ask your district for accountability!

2. Stop relying on punishment, restraint and seclusion to deal with children’s negative behavior. One of the important things to know is that a lot of children with disabilities have behavior that is related to their disability. Also, it is proven in research that punishment, restraint and seclusion do not work in the long term to change a child’s behavior!

3. Have good attitudes that include all children in the school; including children with disabilities! Personnel that take a positive proactive approach to school order and behavior can absolutely have a wonderful affect, on all of the children in the school. Positive attitudes encourage learning, negative attitudes discourage learning!

4. Teachers and other special education personnel need to be taught not to overreact to behavior. By appropriately dealing with negative behavior the child’s behavior may decrease, but on the other hand overreacting to the behavior, can escalate the behavior. I have seen this many times over the years; a child with autism gets upset and the teacher jumps in; gets in the child’s face and escalates (makes worse) the child’s behavior! Teachers must learn to step back and give the child time to calm themselves down!

5. Understand the huge connection between behavioral difficulty and academic difficulty. Many parents call me when their child has negative school behavior, and ask for help. I ask them: how is your child’s academics? In 100% of the cases the child is below average in all areas of academics. The child is telling the people around them: I cannot do this work, so I am going to misbehave so that I can avoid the work! Avoidance of hard academics is the cause of a lot of negative school behavior!

6. Use research based processes; positive behavioral supports and plans to deal with a child’s negative school behavior. The process starts with a Functional Behavioral Analysis (FBA) to determine what the child is getting from the negative behavior. Is it to avoid hard academics? Is it to access attention? Then a properly conducted FBA is used to develop a positive behavioral plan. This is not a punishment plan, but a plan to increase positive school behavior which then decreases negative school behavior.

Bring these 6 things to your school district and ask them to implement them for your child and other children. This will ensure that all children have a positive environment to learn; even children with disabilities!