Wearing Two Hats
By: Stephanie Rhoades
I have worn two hats over the last 25 years of my life.
One as a special education teacher and the other as a parent of a special needs child. At times, it has been difficult to handle the two roles.
Parent Of A Child With Special Needs AND A Special Needs Teacher;
I needed to bring up tough issues with the school about the implementation of my daughter’s IEP.
I would always start those tough meetings by saying that I was wearing my “parent hat,” not my “employee hat.”
It was tough having to disagree with fellow educators and colleagues on how your child’s IEP was being written or followed. I
n one such meeting, I had to disagree on the amount of service that the special education department was to provide to my daughter. I remember being told that since I worked for the school corporation, that I needed to accept what they were offering. This ruffled my feathers, to say the least. I was pouring my heart and soul into my job as a special education teacher, and the school was asking me to settle for something that was less than the best. I took a long hard look at what needed to be done and came up with some questions that I asked myself and later shared with the parents of my students.
Who Is The Best Advocate For Your Child???
No one should know your child better than you. I have been through 11 surgeries with my daughter. One of those surgeries was 18 hours long. I can still look at my daughter to this day and tell that she is not feeling the best. A parent has that connection with their child that they can spot something off in their child.
When Should You As A Parent STOP Fighting For The Rights Of Your Child?
This is NEVER! If you do not stand up for your child, who do you expect to be their voice? I am not saying to be a helicopter parent, but when something does not feel right, it probably is not.
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Do not argue with the case conference committee just to argue. You can get things done the way you want them by compromising on the unimportant stuff but digging in your heels for the things you find most important.
Examples: service minutes, accommodations, types of programs…
I have had very few confrontations with the case conference committee as a parent of a special needs child but the few issues that I did have, I worked to get what I wanted with minimal compromising. “Kill them with kindness” is the motto I have always used. If you go into the case conference meeting with a positive attitude, so much more can be accomplished. Remember, the committee is a team and teams work together to be successful.
Advocating is the one thing I find to be the most crucial role of a parent.
Have you encountered any similar situations as a parent of a child with special needs?
This entry was posted on Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 at and is filed under Special Education - Parents View and tagged as Parent Involvement, Stephanie Rhoades. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.