It's early in IEP season, but already the Readers Respond pages are showing signs of parental frustration with the way that experts in all their experty expertness seek to put parents in their place and presume that all pertinent knowledge is theirs. On the page for sharing your special-needs wish list, reader lele wrote in part:
"I am sick and tired of the education system being so nonchalant in their hierarchy positions. Come back down to where we are and have some compassion. I want empathy - not sympathy. Be suggestive and actually respect me for the decisions I make for my child - I do know her best, and while I may not understand the logistics of your jargon, please keep in mind that I and my child are human beings who deserve your respect."
Echoing that sentiment, reader Sandra wrote on the Readers Respond page for demanding respect for your child:
"Parents know their child best, and have seen their child in more circumstances in the real world than anyone. For a child to be successful, parents need to be involved and respected. IEP meetings should be a collaborative discussion of the child's needs, not just a formality for the staff to read standard goals to the parents. The child has one chance for an education."
How's the education-planning, service-beseeching, respect-expecting process going for you and your child this year? Share your thoughts on these Readers Respond pages or in the comments. For strategizing before that stressful meeting, read my article "Meet Your IEP Team," figure out your advocacy style, write your own part of your child's IEP, and check the special-education article index for more good advice.