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Readers Respond: What Would You Like Special Educators to Know?

Responses: 33


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

special needs kids are real kids

Just because a child looks normal on the outside doesn't mean they don't have a brain injury and need their help and understanding. When they say they don't remember something they really might not.
—Guest trmorris12@live.com

Sensory Based Behavior Classification

The basic idea that behaviors ONLY can be classified into 4 categories does not apply to sensory disorder based behaviors. The same techniques that a teacher is taught for regular students will not apply to Special Education Sensory Behavior Students, in fact, these techniques will often enhance escalate & can cause meltdowns. Learning sensory based triggers & how to diffuse & head off a meltdown before it escalates to that point will make for a better teacher/student relationship. The old way will only confuse your student & send the wrong message to them.
—Guest vulnadia

Help for Dyslexia!

I would like to educate my schools teachers and principle on Dyslexia. They put labels on my kid and even my husband is on their side of not even talking about it. Every one thinks it is OK to just label a kid so they do not have to talk about Dyslexia!!!
—Guest carol masterson

Keep Moving Forward Parents!!!!

As I reread these posts, I am brought to tears. I empathize with you all. Please continue to fight for your child, it is your right and responsibility. Do not give in, even if you fail. Where one door closes, another opens. I will not give up or give in-the district failed my child once, and it will not happen again-I am prepared for battle. Our kids are entitled to an appropriate education and to be amongst their peers-not secluded in a classroom where they cannot mimic from positive peer interaction. Whether I win or lose, I will never give up fighting for my child, she is my everything and my voice will help her succeed in the long run. I am encouraged by your posts here and it brings me comfort that I am not the only parent who continues to advocate for their child. Thank you Terri Mauro for this site and the recommendations you provide-you truly are a blessing!!! Keep fighting parents, never give up!! Our kids believe in us and are depending us to help them through the madness!!!
—Guest lele


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.

Bullies hurt

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

Adoptive mom

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

my thoughts

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

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What Would You Like Special Educators to Know?

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