Thursday, May 26, 2016

Special Education: Starting the Process

I am going to try to do a series of special education post. I tried to do this about one year ago and then I got away from it. I focused on writing those types of articles for Autism Parenting Magazine the past year. However, I realize that not everyone gets that magazine so I am going to try to do a series of special education post on here to help you!

I miss working! I loved working with special needs kids. I just never realized  I would have my own one day. With that said, I believe it helped me a lot. It helped to prepare me for the reality of autism with my own sons.

As a special education teacher, my heart always went out to the parents at IEP meetings. I saw them cry during the meetings. It was all I could do to not cry with them. Before I knew it, I was the one on the other side of the table as a parent, crying. I am so thankful that Trenton had an amazing teacher while he was in the school system when we still lived in Illinois. His teacher reminded me of myself when I was a teacher. She never once made me feel like I shouldn't be crying. Tears are shed because we love our children and it simply hurts to watch them have special needs.

When I was working in the school system, I realized that there were several children that had special needs and their parents didn't realize it. They were either blindsided, in denial, or never had anyone to help them. Often, the school system is where the process starts for many families. Even though your child has special needs, it doesn't automatically qualify your child for special education. With that said, let's talk about what the steps are if you think your child needs special education.

  • Start by focusing on your child's difficulties. Does your child have academic problems, delays in development, inappropriate or hyperactive behavior, difficulty staying on task and paying attention, difficulties with receptive or expressive language, etc.
  • Once you examine your child and gather their challenges, you can formally ask to begin the process of a special education evaluation. Call the school system and get in contact with the special education department. If you child is already in school, talk to their teacher or their teacher may talk to you about it first.
  • Gather all the information you can! Get information from your child's teachers & doctors. If your child is not in school yet, get information from their doctor.
An important thing to remember is that if your child has a medical diagnosis of some sort, that does not automatically qualify your child for special education. Your child will still have to be evaluated from the school system in order for the schools to see where the proper fit for you child is.

All in all, remember that you can request an evaluation for special education at any time. Don't be afraid to ask and get the process started yourself if you have to. If your child is young and just getting ready to start school, more than likely, you may the one that needs to take the initiative because you are the only one that really knows your child's ability at that point.

Please stay tuned for more special education post.

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