Teacher Not Meeting Your Child’s Needs?
By: Suzie Dalien, M.Ed.
Being a parent presents a number of unique challenges you will need to overcome, as well as unusual situations you might find yourself in. Parenting is not for the faint of heart, and having a child with special needs only adds to the stress you experience in your role of caretaker, educator and superhero.
For at least four years you’ve taken care of your child’s every need, but now they’re old enough to start either preschool or kindergarten. This means control of your child’s care now partially falls to the school your child will be attending, which can cause anxiety and frustration for both of you. Clear, concise communication between your child’s educators and therapists helps ensure a smooth transition to daily school life while still addressing their unique talents and limitations. It’s now up to the teacher to help your child learn and meet specific educational goals, and you leave it in their capable, specially trained hands.
Even though ensuring your child’s needs are met during the school day should be the first priority, you might not feel like the teacher is living up to your expectations. That’s a normal reaction and one that should be addressed immediately, lest the teacher continue on in the same fashion. Should you feel your child isn’t getting the proper level of education, speak with the teacher directly. Let them know what you are wanting for your child’s needs, and see if it’s possible for the educator to accommodate your request with the appropriate equipment or tools. Coming to a definite agreement on your child’s education should be the end goal, and one that you all feel satisfied with.
While speaking with your child’s teacher should most often be the first step towards resolution, it’s not always the best course of action.
What To Do When Your Child’s Needs Aren’t Being Met By Their Teacher
• Request a private meeting. If you are finding a deficiency in your child’s education, it does no good to address your concerns in front of your child. Call the school and ask to schedule a private conference with your child’s teacher at their earliest convenience.
• Keep your emotions in check. As your child’s protector, your Mama Bear instinct kicks in when you find an educational error that could affect your child’s success in school. It’s understandable that your first reaction would be anger or confusion, but addressing the teacher in a harsh, confrontational manner will never get you the results you’re wanting.
• Define education goals. If you feel your child’s needs are not being adequately met, take care to let the teacher know exactly what you are expecting from your child’s lessons. The issue might have come from a communication breakdown between you and the school.
• Keep an open mind. What you feel is the best way to educate your child might not be agreeable to your child’s teacher, who has specialized educational training that is used towards helping your child meet specific goals. Be open to suggestions and willing to change your expectations should a better method be presented.
If these tips aren’t getting you the results you need to see for your child’s needs to be met, it might be time to speak with the school about an Individualized Education Plan or IEP. If your child is receiving special education services, an IEP was mandatory for the school to begin helping your child meet specific goals. If this is your first time dealing with an IEP, have no fear – your child’s school is intimately familiar with the process, and is there to see your child succeed in receiving the best possible education they can provide. You will attend a scheduled meeting consisting of your child’s principal, teacher and specialists, if needed. During the course of the meeting, your child’s disability will be addressed, along with the education hurdles your child in learning that your child needs to overcome. Whether your child suffers from developmental, emotional, physical or mental limitations, your child’s school has seen it all. Trust the experience that comes from the special education teachers and assistants, as they can provide the best information for helping your child.
When the school has all of the proper information on your child, they can better meet your child’s needs. Always make sure to communicate to the school any changes in your child’s treatment or condition, and ask for updates on milestones your child is working to reach. It’s important for you to stay on top of their school work and therapy so you know exactly where things stand at all times.
In extreme circumstances, it might not be possible for your child’s school to accommodate your child’s special needs. This might be due to a change in policy, teaching methods or simple lack of resources, but can cause unneeded stress for both you and your child. In this instance, the best action might be to switch schools. This can be a heartbreaking experience for your child, but with simple guidance and open communication, you can make a smooth transition into a better learning environment.
Parenting a child with special needs requires self-control and unique problem-solving skills, but it’s possible to reach a resolution that provides a happy outcome for everyone. Special Education Resource offers a unique approach to supplemental learning through online tutoring. We believe that education should be personally tailored to each child, and that learning shouldn’t be a “one size fits all” approach.
Whether you’re looking for supplemental learning or information on how to best educate your child, we have the resources you need to calm every fear. The road to success is curvy and full of obstacles, but it’s possible to help your child receive the best education possible from either a public or private school. Learn how to speak up for your child and be their advocate if the teacher isn’t meeting their needs.
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