Parent’s View On Special Education
By: Suzie Dalien, M.Ed.
Your child has a disability, learning or otherwise, which means you’ve now joined the elite ranks of the over 6 million children who receive special education services all across the United States. If you’re just starting to seek information on special education, you’ve definitely come to the right place!
There is so much information concerning special education tutoring that it might initially appear overwhelming in nature, especially with all of the frightening statistics and negative connotations that appear whenever the words “special” and “education” are involved. The important thing to remember is that you’re not alone; from Special Education Resource to special education tutors, there is a large network of support that can help you and your child succeed on the path to a solid education.
The history of special education is surprisingly recent. In 1975, what is now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act was first enacted to guarantee every American child, regardless of disability, had access to a free appropriate public education or FAPE. The term “special education” was given to these unique children, and a large sector of the United States school system was born. Over the years, however, it has devolved into something inherently negative. Children who receive special education services often are teased for being “slow,” “lazy,” or “stupid,” which is due in large part to peer pressure and a school’s infrastructure. Special education classes are often conducted in a separate classroom away from the “normal” children, which led to the assumption that the special needs children should be kept away from the others. It’s a stigma that has stuck around, even in today’s exceptionally open-minded times. By parents, educators and other advocates banding together, that stigma CAN be changed. The truth is, a label doesn’t have to define a child, it simply proves that all children learn differently.
A Parent’s View on Special Education
There are a number of disabilities that qualify for special education services – physical, behavioral, learning, emotional or mental – and each one presents its own set of challenges and obstacles to education. The focus is most often on the child and how they perform in school, but having a child with special needs also puts a lot of pressure on the parents, too. So just how do parent’s view special education in general?
It’s hard to see your child struggling in school, falling behind despite attempts at learning. When a child receives a specific diagnosis for a disability of some type, the first thing to do is notify the school so special accommodations can be made, most notably arrangements for special education classes or tutoring. As commonplace as special education is in most schools, some parents are still reluctant to let their children participate in these classes. They’ve heard the stigma, and might have even had some of it directed at themselves, and would rather not subject their children to the teasing and name-calling that might result from placement in special education classes. It’s an understandable fear, but one that is based on emotion instead of rationality. A child deserves the best chance possible at a fulfilling education, and getting them the help that’s desperately needed might come at an emotional cost.
Having a child with special needs who requires special education means that parents have a vested interest in seeing their children succeed. It takes daily effort in order for these children to get the help they need, but it doesn’t happen only in the classroom setting. With the advent of the internet, media technology and an outpouring of support from concerned educators and specialists, it’s possible for special education tutoring to occur in a number of ways. From Skype to distance learning to blogs and forums, there is a plethora of material that can help you cope with your child’s educational needs. It’s possible to cross the imaginary boundaries of physicality and connect with people all across America who have your child’s best interest at heart. Having an individualized lesson plan that is specifically designed to work with your child’s unique abilities can go a long way in helping them overcome the barriers to education that life has provided.
When speaking with other parents about special education, you might find that they have nightmarish experiences to relate, as well as unsolicited advice. This can be scary water to navigate, but have no fear – your experience with special education can be smooth sailing if you have the right resources. It’s tempting, though, to throw up your hands in frustration and say, “That’s it! No special education classes for my child!” but finding the will to forge ahead is something that will ultimately benefit everyone involved, your child the most. Focusing on a positive outcome will give you the courage to continue on a successful path.
Special Education Alternatives And Additional Assistance
You might decide to go rogue and homeschool your child, which is a perfectly acceptable solution to the problem. If you decide to self-teach, though, make sure you know your state’s laws regarding homeschooling and the specific requirements. A quick internet search might turn up homeschooling groups that can provide you with a wealth of information, as well. If you want special education tutoring in addition to regular schooling, that can be arranged, as well. Special Education Resource specializes in molding the lesson plans and curriculum your child is currently learning into a way that fits their specific learning needs.
As a parent, educating yourself about special education and what it means for your child is the first step in getting them the help they need. Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t mean the end of education for your child; it’s only a stumbling block on the path. Start small and check with your school to see what programs they have for children with special needs. If they don’t provide the best option for your child, take comfort knowing there are several alternatives to traditional schooling that might be a better fit. Make sure you are communicating with your child’s teachers and school officials every step of the way, as well, so there are no barriers to learning. It takes time, effort and patience, but eventually you will find a winning combination of educational strategies that will really send your child’s education through the roof!
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