Thursday, May 13, 2010

Educators Need Educating

The following is the best IEP advice that I've ever seen.  While it doesn't apply specifically to my son's needs or dx, the advice about empowering yourself and not being "bullied" by a hostile IEP team or school system is excellent.  I'll need to read this each time I prepare for a parent meeting or IEP in the future...
Click link
I highly recommend the Wrightslaw website and books - an excellent resource for special needs law. This book came to my IEP along with my advocate and several well-organized binders full of records.  Chances are you've probably spent a small fortune on books and/or therapies for your child (and maybe yourself, if you're smart!).  Check your online library network, support group, therapy center, friend, advocate or even school to get your hands on a copy. 

MUST READ for all
who know a special needs child:
The following is the finest I've seen - a parent perspective on attitude and frustration with school systems dealing with a handicap.  I just may have to read this daily for awhile to stop apologizing for my son.  Like she says, would I apologize if he was blind and couldn't recognize his colors?   Read on, very moving...

Donna Aumann Cooper via facebook comment about above Wrightslaw article. 

I wrote this a year ago when my son was having severe challenges at school...wanted to share. My son, Jonathan, has autism, fully included in general education classroom.

If Jonathan were blind, would I expect him to see?

No, I'd give him alternate ways to "see" his world. Let him touch and smell. Describe it to him. Would I apologize for him? (Can you imagine..."Oh please forgive my son for his blindness"??)

If Jonathan were deaf, would I expect him to hear?

No, but I'd provide hearing aids and therapies for him to be able to function as best as he could. I would learn to be conversational in sign language so I could understand and know my son.

If Jonathan was disabled in such a way as he could not walk, would I be angry at him that he was in a wheel chair?

No. I think I would see the wheelchair as the best way for my child to enjoy life, and be able to participate.
Why then is it so hard for me to accept the behavior issues that comes with autism? Why do I expect my son to "be like the other kids" in regards to social issues? Why do I expect him to THINK and ACT like the NT Kids? Why does it embarrass and humiliate me when he doesn't?

Would teachers be saying, (if my son was blind) "Oh, gee, you're son couldn't identify his colors AGAIN today..."

Or (if my son was deaf) "No matter how many times we play the song, Jonathan refuses to participate in music. He just will not sing, not ever"

Or (if my son was in a wheel chair) "Once again your son would not walk to the cafeteria. I mean...all the other kids his age are able to walk and carry their own trays. But he just stays in his chair..."
But I am forced to hear about all the behavior issues, almost daily, and then feel like for some reason I need to do better, discipline more, talk more, find the magic wand that will "fix" him.

Why is it different for my son, than a child who is visually or hearing or physically impaired ?
I am pondering...
Donna Cooper

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