1. Be Informed
Learn as much as you can about your child’s special needs but also about the systems and laws in place to help your child get a good education. Your child has rights, and you need to know them!
2. Go Beyond the IEP
An IEP (individualized education program) will help to ensure that your child gets the education to which they’re entitled—but it doesn’t guarantee that education. You’ll need to take control, making sure the IEP is followed. And don’t get complacent: As your child’s situation changes, the IEP may need to change, as well.
3. Ask Questions
There’s no such thing as a stupid question. Never pretend to understand something you don’t, no matter how embarrassed you might be to ask a question.
4. Keep Records
Take notes in meetings, on phone calls and in other conversations, and get all reports and information from the school in writing. It’s great backup for knowing where your child’s therapy has been—and where it’s going. It’s also a good idea to take someone with you to be your note-taker.
5. Be Collaborative
Generally, school leaders, teachers, and assistants will be truly interested in your child’s success. Treat them as partners and work collaboratively with them. However, if you feel they aren’t giving you all the services and information you need, push back. And if you can’t get what you need, ask for a mediator to help resolve issues.
6. Be There
Just being seen at your child’s school, touching base with teachers, and asking for what you want will help the school keep your child’s interest in mind—and probably help your child feel safer and more connected, too.
7. Get Help
If you’re not getting what your child needs, ask for help from advocacy groups, fellow parents, your pediatrician, and others in your support network.
8. Meet Well
Don’t be an absentee parent. Attend all meetings pertaining to your child’s education, and come prepared to participate, with notes, information, and questions. And don’t be afraid to ask for a meeting if you think one is necessary.
9. Build Relationships
Teachers and administrators who know you will respond better to your participation.
10. Take Emotion out of the Equation
This can be especially tough, but always strive to keep a cool head and clear perspective. Trust that, even in difficult circumstances, the educators you’re working with truly want what’s best for your child.
Education Especially for Your Child
Children with disabilities don’t always fit in traditional school settings. That’s why Damar has created two unique schools—Damar Academy and Damar Charter Academy—to help students achieve remarkable things and learn to live more independent lives. We’d love to help you discover whether one is right for your child.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the educational options for your child? How do you choose the right school—and what should you expect day to day? We have answers to these questions and many others.
Have questions? Looking for support? Get in touch with us to learn more.