How to Make School Personnel Become Educated About Disabilities

Kindermouse

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
never mind-I was looking for advice on how to educate the school not to get into an argument.
 
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lanejudy

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Oct 27, 2011
So sorry you are having challenges with your son's school. You don't indicate what grade he is now or how long he has been at this school or with any of the diagnoses -- so I don't know if my experience will offer insights.

For my daughter, I have always taken the approach of sharing information about her diagnosis from the start. I knew chances were slim-to-none that anybody would be familiar with her primary diagnosis or what to expect. She received her dx when she was 2, so I've always approached each new IEP team with copies of a brochure about the diagnosis in general as well as anything specific about how it impacts her at school. We've had times of trial and error along the way, but always trying to use the approach of "how can we do as a team to figure this out?" has netted decent results to-date (she's currently entering 6th grade this week). We'be been fortunate that she has a team, not just 1 individual, and most have been quite appreciative of the background information and working together. Over the years I've only had to make demands once or twice when I felt we weren't making any progress, otherwise I feel that I can "catch more flies with honey than vinegar."

My suggestion is to request an IEP team meeting right after school starts to share the document you mentioned with his team and to discuss how to implement some of the suggestions. If possible, share the document in advance so they've had time to read and think about it. Come prepared with some of your own suggestions, but also be open to some of their suggestions.

Good luck!
 

Kindermouse

DIS Veteran
Joined
Mar 6, 2016
never mind-I was looking for advice on how to educate the school not to get into an argument
 
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  • Disney_traveler

    DIS Veteran
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    Jul 31, 2016
    All of the information needs to come from the doctors, diagnosticians, etc. As a teacher, if we relied on parents telling us what and how to do something, we would need to have 1 teacher per each student. I understand the issues you are facing, but it's important to remember that it isn't ONLY your son in a classroom. There are 15-20-25 other students in a room it also affects. If those kids also have needs, his behavior could trigger them.
     

    Kindermouse

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Mar 6, 2016
    never mind-I was looking for advice on how to educate the school not to get into an argument
     
    Last edited:

    Disney_traveler

    DIS Veteran
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    Jul 31, 2016
    I do understand-I am also a teacher, though I teach elementary school rather than middle school.

    I have kids with moderate to severe autism that push into my room at various times of the day-and when push in isn't working because of the one-on-one needs of the student we don't keep the kids out of the room, we get a para. I dictate for students and give oral assessments and read some quiz questions aloud. Kids with movement needs can be seated in a spot to allow those needs and kids bothered by the distraction can be seated away from them. I know to do this because I read the information about the kids disability and needs. I feel that his teachers would be more successful if they also read the information knew what to do and I just want to know how to get them education and training about his disability since they don't seem open to it. It really would make class easier for them too.

    Ok, you are a teacher, so, with all due respect, please understand that:
    --many teachers have already received some basic training in this either in college courses, workshops, Inservice, or ARD meetings
    --IEPs & 504s (at least where I am) line out what we are supposed to provide.It will say something like "preferential seating" NOT "student must have a bean bag chair and yoga ball in room to choose from in addition to any desk, table, chair, etc)
    --and that there are other things going on in our day and lives to tend to.

    At some point we have to draw the line at accommodating every parents want. Yes I understand you see it as a need, but reading documents and attending training set up by you (not the school) is all a want. If they allow you, what's to stop the other parents from requesting such? If there is a specific way you feel your child should be handled, then YOU need to be doing/providing that through homeschool or serve as an in room volunteer to him everyday.

    You are asking for what you can do, truthfully, I think the answer is to ask for an ARD meeting, go over the iep, suggest what you think, have your pamphlets, and then move on no matter what the outcome. If they don't do it, leave it be and learn to function within the environment they are providing, find another school, or homeschool.

    Yes you are an educator, but in this situation you are not the diagnostician, administrator, teaching staff, etc at this school/campus for this student you are the parent.
     

    daisyduck123

    <font color=green>I just love those parmesan mashe
    Joined
    Aug 18, 2005
    Ok, you are a teacher, so, with all due respect, please understand that:
    --many teachers have already received some basic training in this either in college courses, workshops, Inservice, or ARD meetings
    --IEPs & 504s (at least where I am) line out what we are supposed to provide.It will say something like "preferential seating" NOT "student must have a bean bag chair and yoga ball in room to choose from in addition to any desk, table, chair, etc)
    --and that there are other things going on in our day and lives to tend to.

    At some point we have to draw the line at accommodating every parents want. Yes I understand you see it as a need, but reading documents and attending training set up by you (not the school) is all a want. If they allow you, what's to stop the other parents from requesting such? If there is a specific way you feel your child should be handled, then YOU need to be doing/providing that through homeschool or serve as an in room volunteer to him everyday.

    You are asking for what you can do, truthfully, I think the answer is to ask for an ARD meeting, go over the iep, suggest what you think, have your pamphlets, and then move on no matter what the outcome. If they don't do it, leave it be and learn to function within the environment they are providing, find another school, or homeschool.

    Yes you are an educator, but in this situation you are not the diagnostician, administrator, teaching staff, etc at this school/campus for this student you are the parent.
    Disney Traveler....I am also a teacher, public school, with over 25 years of experience. You have stated everything I was going to say, plus more, in a better way, I'm sure!

    Best of luck to the OP and I hope your DS have a great school year!
     
  • lanejudy

    Moderator
    Moderator
    Joined
    Oct 27, 2011
    OP -- to answer your basic question -- I don't think you can "make" anyone read information given, and a single parent can't dictate in-service training or seminars. The best we can do is provide the information, and then request it be on the agenda for discussion at the next IEP meeting.

    My DD's school is structured with multi-year teams so I've been able to build a rapport with the same group of teachers. Virtually all my communication goes through her special ed teacher when I have questions or issues arise; the only time I had to go directly to Administration was for a complaint, though the vice principal and district-level special ed administrator have occasionally sat in on our meetings. The school is K-8, so we haven't dealt with moving from elementary to middle school (I do have anxiety about transition to high school, but we aren't quite there yet). In thinking about or discussing "what might happen" related to my DD's diagnosis -- while they'll listen, they don't usually "act" on anything until it is documented (for example attention issues can be common with her primary diagnosis, yet we had to go the route of a formal ADHD diagnosis before that could be addressed in her IEP). With tics, I can see how that could manifest over time; make sure you get it documented with them once you notice something new has become common for him, even if that's every month or two.

    It sounds like you've had an unfortunate set of circumstances that would leave anyone frustrated -- new diagnoses added on over the years, changing schools plus changes in administration at the school leaving no continuity of someone who "knows" your son through the years. Whoever his case manager is (counselor, vice principal, principal, special ed teacher, etc.), try to open those lines of communication. If it's a new case manager this year, start with "I'd like to discuss how we can work together" or something along those lines. An IEP team meeting is basically your option for a next step. Any member of the IEP team can request a meeting, you do not need to wait for particular milestone points (annual review, etc.).

    Good luck!
     


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