Moving Forward When Your Learn Your Child Has Special Needs
How to Get Organized
Parents of children with special needs can feel very overwhelmed and frustrated when it comes to helping their child. Not only are the child’s needs difficult to manage, but parents also need to deal with schooling and all of the details that go along with that. Here are a few tips to help parents get organized about their child’s education.
The first thing parents of a special needs child should do is learn their rights. Each state has a set of rights that are to be provided at every annual review meeting. These rights set guidelines for the schools and lets that parents know all of their rights and responsibilities for their child. If you do not have a copy of your rights, contact your child’s school. They are intended to protect your child in the event that his special need has a negative effect on his educational experience. Another place to find your rights as a parent of a child with a disability is your state’s department of education website.
Learning the services provided through your child’s school and county also helps parents to get organized about resources available to help with their child’s education. If they know ahead of time what is available, they will feel more comfortable suggesting it to the IEP team.
Parents also need to research their child’s school. Learn about all the services that are provided by the school including classes, amenities, and accessibility. If you know the facts ahead of time, you will find yourself much better prepared. Parents also need to have a good relationship with their child’s teacher and open lines of communication need to be established. Parents also should meet and talk frequently with anyone who provides education to their child.
Something else that parents should do to is to research their child’s disability. Many parents already know quite a bit. Here are some great websites to do some additional research:
- LD Online.
- American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
- Children's Disabilities Info
- National Center for Learning Disabilities
- Federation for Children With Special Needs
Another resource that I recommend for parents of a child with a disability is networking with other parents who have experienced the same or similar things. There are support groups in many areas around the country. Check with your local intermediate unit to find out about support groups in your area.
Along with all of the resources mentioned, there are also a great deal of websites that provide additional resources for parents of children with disabilities. The United States Department of Education website also has a great amount of resources. Here are some more recommended websites:
It is important to remember that you are not alone. Many parents are in the same situation that you are in. Check out all of the websites that I mentioned, meet with other parents, and make sure to have a great working relationship with your child’s teacher. If you are as organized as possible, the education of your child will be very beneficial. Parents also need to feel comfortable letting their child go to school. Keeping lines of communication open between everyone who provides an education to their child will make the parents feel more comfortable and they can rest assured that the school is providing for them just as the parents would at home.