Getting Schools to Pay Attention to Your Child’s Needs
Therapies and Resources for Children with Autism & Families
Now that school is in full swing, you may have questions that need to be answered about the progress that your child is making. If you are having trouble getting your child’s school to pay attention to your son or daughter’s individual needs, these steps may help. Consider taking these steps:
Know what your rights are. As a parent of a special needs child, you are their number one advocate. As such, knowing that your child has rights to education will help you to encourage the school to move forward. Three primary pierces of legislation apply to the education of children with special needs. They are the Individuals with Disabilities Education Action, Section 504 of Rehabilitation Act, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Schedule an in-person meeting. While it may be more convenient to simple email or call, if you aren’t getting the attention that you need schedule an in-person meeting with your child’s teacher or other school official. Meeting in person shows that you are serious about communicating with the school.
Prepare an agenda. When you attend your meeting, prepare your questions in advance and make sure they are specific. Questions such as, “How is my daughter doing in class?” will give you far less information than, “What have you observed about my daughter’s ability to socialize during class projects?”
Follow up with written requests. Once your meeting is over, make sure to follow up with a thank you email that contains any written requests that you have made. This is important for your own record keeping. Make sure to print off a copy and follow up with the teacher or school administrator in a timely fashion to make sure that what you agreed on has been done.
Keep a copy of school records. If your child has an existing IEP or 504 plan, make sure to have a copy for your own records. This detailed plan will help you to determine if the education and assistance that was offered has been put into place.
Working with your school district to get your child’s needs met is an easy process. With a little research, in-person meetings and excellent follow up, you will have opened a door of communication and cooperation with your child’s teachers.