By KODEY TONEY
I just got off the phone with a parent seeking advice for her son’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). I felt the information was interesting, so I’d like to share a little bit with you.
She was telling me that she was going to work with the school on possibly changing her son’s IEP, but has some questions. The IEP states he should be pulled to see the special education teacher if the classroom teacher feels that it is necessary. The child seems to be falling behind in some of his classwork and the parent is concerned.
The first thing I would want parents to understand is that the IEP is a specific “contract” with the school. What is in that IEP has to be followed, however you must be careful how things are worded. If the IEP says that the teacher can send the child when she feels it is necessary then she doesn’t have to send the child at all. However, if it states that the child should be sent twice a week to work on something specific such as math or reading then the teacher and special education teach must send the child.
This parent didn’t do this, but I have seen so many times that parents don’t want their child to go to the resource room, or special education room because they are afraid of what people will think of their child. They don’t want their child labeled as “special education”. One case I can think of is that a child was having medical issues that caused them to have seizures. The parent wanted the teacher to know this in case of an episode, but didn’t want to put the child on a 504 (which is helpful for children with medical issues) because she would have to do that with the special education teacher and didn’t want everyone knowing what was going on with the child or the child to be labeled “special education”. The problem is that the teacher isn’t with the child all the time. The gym teacher, playground teacher and anyone else that comes into contact with that child should know about their diagnosis so that they can help in case of an emergency. Don’t forget that your child’s safety, education, and future are more important than your so-called label that you might find embarrassing.
The reason to have the child in the resource room is more one-on-one time. Specific instruction is very good for any child, but especially for a child on the spectrum.
If the teacher is telling you that your child doesn’t need this…but does need this, you need to make sure that everyone is on the same page. If you don’t think what they are saying is right I would encourage you to do a couple things. The first is to do your research. Make sure that you look things up, on a credible site, and check multiple sites. There are many places out there to look up classroom information for children on the spectrum. You can check the Pervasive Parenting Center’s website at www.pervasiveparentingcenter.org for links to resources.
If you still have questions contact other families that have been through the same or similar things. This is where support groups and resources come in handy. The Pervasive Parenting Center support group meets every third Thursday. Again, you can check the website for dates, or contact me for more information. These are good places to vent and share information. The Oklahoma Parent Center and Oklahoma Family Network are also good resources for this.
Don’t forget that nobody knows your child better than you. You spend more time with them and know what is best most of the time.
Don’t let them talk you into anything that you feel uncomfortable about. If it seems like a bad idea then don’t do it. Do what is best for the child.