5 Ways to Get More (Nicely) in Special Education

Special Education can get sticky for everyone involved. Teachers, parents, therapists, and admins all struggle at some point to navigate and negotiate their way through rules and regulations that don't always make sense.

However, sometimes it's not the system that is stopping us from moving forward with what is better for a child. It's us, getting in our own way because we've been burned before or we think we've tried everything.

The next time you're feeling frustrated (or better yet, before you get to that point)... make sure you've tried these 5 strategies:

  1. Make Eye Contact - Don't just rely on notes and emails to make sure the team is understanding what you are trying to communicate. Whether you're part of the school team or you're a parent, we know everything has to be in writing, but face to face contact is critical for working together as a team.

  2. Know the Rules - Don't assume something can or can't be done. Always look for policies in writing and ask for them when necessary. So many conflicts can be avoided when we just get to the bottom line of "show me the policy".

  3. Remember, Nobody Can Read Your Mind - Letting concerns or worries build up will make you want to blow up. Unfortunately, this is classic special education communication. If something is going wrong in your gut or by the data, don't let the pressure build. Take care of it now.

  4. Pay Attention to Get Attention - Ask more questions, get more answers. Pay attention to the details of an answer and create a dialogue. In the IEP Help Center, I'm always telling parents exactly what questions they need to ask, to get the right answers, so they can give better input on how to change or improve an IEP.  This is a CRITICAL step to building a team vs breaking a team. 
  5. Call for Backup - Special Education is emotional, for everyone. Seriously, I've never met a special education teacher or therapist who wanted to take anything away from a child. Parent's hearts break. Teacher's hearts break. Even that Administrator who seems hard core is losing sleep. It's important you aren't doing this alone. You need support. If you don't have support - parents click here and teachers click here. 

Take a look at these 5 steps above... which one can you implement right now, today?


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