From the article: What Parents Would Like Special Educators to Know
In a recent article, I outlined eight things that parents would like special educators to know. Now it's your turn. What would you like special-education teachers -- or any school personnel -- to understand about you, your child, and your family? Share your thoughts. Share Your Insight
- Please don't bully me into trying to get me to back off. Realize that a difficult child needs lots of help learning to cooperate - dont walk off and deny her services because she challenges you. Also, please teach my child things instead of doing them for her. She is very capable even though you might not have faith in her. And finally know that some parents spend years in agony because of the political garbage that comes about in trying to get a child services. Because of the school system my life has gone down the tube and I have become someone who does not have faith in people anymore... Remember that you will be in the child's life for only a moment, yet a parent is there for life. Tell parents the truth because often many behind the scenes people like parent volunteers are informing them the truth anyway.
- —Guest Sick of the system
A special needs child is still a child
- Stand back and ask yourself if this was your child how would you like your child to be treated by others and how would you feel if this happened to you-then you would think again what changes you could make that would not be disrespectful
Teachers are taught not to listen!
- I was an ESE major at USF for a year and we were taught that we are the professionals and that parents just don't understand. Being the parent of a 14 year old with autism...this did not sit well with me. I had several fights with the professors and left after a year in the program. They also demonized center schools and classrooms specifically for ESE students. Their entire agenda was inclusion 100%! Every kid in their neighborhood school in a regular classroom being pulled out for services! In lala land that would be great, but parents have to face reality! That's what teachers and administrators do not understand! They get to go home at 3 and soak in a hot tub....we are the ones in it for the long haul!
- —Guest Alpha
Inclusion Works, Indeed It Does
- Having the first child with a significant disability be fully included at the elementary level, is always stressful. But it is also very exciting for my community, and very ground breaking for individuals who happend to have Down syndrome. Teachers, I say, it can be done, and you should at least try it. My child does not have pull outs he gets push in's, special education is a SERVICE, not a place to be. All therapies are done in the classrooms, OT, Speech, Pt is done during recess or gym. It's very inclusive, and it's done properly, nothing sloppy about it. What I hear about most is the GAP widening, and so there for inclusion must not be working, so what I say to you is this, the GAP also widens on the other side of the spectrum. The GAP is widend between my child and his peers who are not included, so I rebuttle and say, Inclusion works, Indeed it does.
- —Guest Nikki P.
- In our school, any child in special ed is prone to bullies - whether its a group of just a few "mean girls". The added stress can be more than a child can bear. He or she may ignore or try to accept it because they are told they are "different". Please look for the signs of a child who may be ready to give up. They don't deserve the hell other kids (and parents) out them through.
- —Guest jaqs
Talk to me
- I really mean it when I say call me anytime and that I want to know what is happening. I read emails, carry my cell phone and I will always respond. My kid is my most important job. I want to know the good and the bad. Oh and I hate that thing the other parent mentioned where you all gather in the room first, too. If there was ever a move designed to make you feel paranoid and confrontational, that's it. You might as well hang signs around your neck that say "home team" to match my "visitor" badge. Fortunately, I know I am an important part of the IEP team no matter how you act. I want you to see me as part of the TEAM as well.
- —Guest Lyntilla
- We are not the enemy. We appreciate you for your dedication. Realize that our kids aren't always what you see. Listen to us and help us get the services our child needs. We know you have to work with administrators, but be our child's advocate. And please help us get our kids that are not ED out of the self-contained classroom. Those kids preyed on my daughter even after she was mainstreamed and made her life miserable. The other kids began to see her as a "sped kid" and wouldn't include her in their activities. Teachers only saw my bubbly, vivacious daughter. They didn't see the hurt when she was never invited and had to hang out with the ones who preyed on her. Also, learn about FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.) Many adopted kids have it as well as those in your regular classroom. It impacts the level of stress tolerance. Don't overwhelm our kids with too much homework -- they can't handle it. And thank you for all you did for my daughter while she was in school!
- —Guest adoptive mom
- Many SpEd teachers have special needs kids that we go home to at the end of the day. Please understand, I want to stay in touch with parents but I have one 45 min planning period, meetings before school & I'm a single parent & go home to my 4 kids, 2 of whom have disabilities, as soon as I regain enough sanity to walk in the house and greet them the way a mom should. I am exhausted. Mentally. Physically. Emotionally. I treat my students the way I want my own kids to be treated & parents the way I want to be treated by my kids' teachers. Not all teachers should be SpEd teachers. I have known some very mean-spirited, fairly stupid teachers who surely shouldn't be in SpEd. Listen to your kids. Listen for messages from me that I, and other teachers who have no tenure, are trying to tell you. Please do not betray my confidence. I would lose my job for telling parents such simple things as "You should find out about the law." Without tenure, I am unable to truly be your child's advocate.
- —Guest special educator
We have to move on from this.
- We agree that with the proper supports our sweet boy will succeed, but I don't like being bullied into your line of thought. We are his parents, and we get the final say. So, no, we don't want to medicate our child. And, yes, we did speak with his pediatrician, and several other health professionals, most of whom believe his diagnosis doesn't fit, therefore don't want to prescribe meds, and suggest that we try behavior therapy first. I am sorry that you find this frustrating, but I am getting a second opinion on his diagnosis, so please be patient. Yes, we will back you up when you need it, just ask. And yes, you can call us any time.
- Please know that my child has a disability and brain injury/nonverbal learning disability can present as silent disability. See the disability 1st, and realize it's not a behavior. Read the info and IEP provided. You'll know all that you need to. Believe children want to do well. People don't wake saying they want to drive people crazy today. A lot of times our kids have had their fill of negative comments and name calling, so if a staff person is short with them, it just makes them defensive and lose hope. Staff have hard jobs, but enlist parents' help. We want you and our children to succeed. We want to partner with you but you need to let us know what we should or shouldn't do. Communicate with us. Don't make us hunt you down for answers ... We won't stop helping or fighting for our kids. For some, we may be the only one rooting for them. Share what you are seeing at school. Not telling us does nothing for our children's success and limits our ability to help our children plan for their futures. You are the one we turn to. We believe you continue trying and learning.
- —Guest cd
Response from Special Educator
- It certainly is rewarding to see the faith that these parents place on special educators. Reading these posts has reaffirmed our need to be cognizant of the vital role we play as we continue to have our students at heart. Sometimes our burdens seem so heavy and our tasks seem insurmountable as we strive to create an environment that leads students to success. It therefore makes it essential for special educators to address the legal, professional and ethical issues that we face for the betterment of those under our care. With the responsibility vested on us it is important to foster collaboration with teachers and parents as we learn from each other and work toward improving student performance. When this is done with mutual respect and trust, it becomes easier for the students to reach their goal.
- —Guest KBFrancis
Remember why you have your title
- Everyday you should celebrate each child's strengths and weaknesses!!! Although you may prefer the first, remember the latter is what helps the first succeed. Your title means everything to us parents; we look upon you to help us along the way. Don't be afraid to speak out, recommend, or go against the grain. We rely on you to help us help our child. We understand you may have your own battles with the school district; but please remember our battles as well!! We try our best (most anyways) to incorporate what is in the classroom at home to help our child succeed two fold. Help us to understand what works and doesn't so that we may be of service to you as well. Your title of Special Education Teacher tells us parents you have compassion, empathy, dedication, and motivation for our precious gifts. When things are tough, please do not give up on our babies; we are counting on you to pull through. We appreciate you everyday because we realize your title/position present challenges as well
- —Guest lele
Inclusion for all
- It's not okay to segregate children with special needs. Just because they don't fit into your little box, doesn't mean they cannot be taught in their home school district. They just learn differently. It does not mean that you should ship them off to different schools and keep them separated from their typical peers & community. There has been a lot of research showing the general ed environment is more beneficial than self-contained. There is no research showing that the self-contained environment is more beneficial than the general Ed environment. The parent's opinion does matter! You are not scaring me anymore. I will not be bullied. I am not backing down. I am opening the door to allow my child as well as others back into their home district so that they may be taught with the typical peers from their community.
- —Guest Proud_Mama
Keep Us in the Loop
- Please remember to communicate with us about what our child is working on at school, what is coming easily for her and what is challenging to her. I believe that learning is a 24/7 process, and if I know what she is working on, I will do my best to carry that subject matter over into our home/family life. Also, please understand that I sometimes have to pick my battles with my child. Many things, like brushing her hair, wearing a belt, or trimming her nails lead to screaming, kicking battles at home due to her sensory issues. So please accept that if she isn't perfectly dressed and groomed at times, it is not because I don't care, but because I DO, and don't want to put her through unnecessary discomfort for the sake of her appearance. I am really hoping that, like other little girls, these things will become important to her some day, but right now they are not.
Moms are people too
- I am so thankful for my daughter's teachers over the past years. Each of them has helped shape my daughter into the independent and capable girl she is today. Her teachers have listened to me and helped me feel comfortable about her daily school life. Having stated this, I want to add that some teachers are respectful however refer to me as "Mom." And often at the beginning of child study meetings, all the teachers and administrators enter the meeting room and then once they are assembled, they call the parents in. They at times act very formal like we parents are entities rather than people. It would be a breath of fresh air to be considered as 'part' of the student's family...someone who is working hard to help their child reach their potential. It would be nice to be considered part of the overall team instead of someone who is segregated and labeled by their position as 'Mom.' Parents refer to teachers by their names. This is not a big deal but something I wanted to share.
- —Guest arlene2009
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