Stop Playing Games in Special Education

iep special education team Apr 17, 2018

I'm sitting with my cup of coffee, on a snowy spring morning and catching up on my emails when I come across some advice that is being given to parents... and it's not sitting with me well.  It's encouraging "game playing" when advocating for your child. That's not going to work... not "these days".

I've been coaching parents, teachers, and IEP teams for over 20 years. I've worked on the "inside" as a teacher and have worn about many different hats on IEP teams from the "outside". I can tell you one thing with certainty... The Special Education "Game" has changed and old school "us vs them" strategies don't work for good long term outcomes.

Leadership is what is truly being craved by our special education teams. This includes EVERYONE on the team, parents, teachers, therapists, admins and yes... the child.

We need LEADERS on our teams who will do these 4 things:

  1. Listen - Really open up our ears and our minds to what the root of the conversations and concerns are about, without trying to justify what is already happening.
  2. Ask Questions - Be inquisitive of "why" a rule, a policy, a decision has been made. Find out the "WHY" on how things are being done and you can work towards the outcome the child needs.
  3.  Take Action - Meeting, after meeting, after meeting does NOT work when looking for results. We have to show action, take risks, BE BOLD in our decision making and FOLLOW THROUGH.
  4. Be Responsible - We all have a role on the team and we can't pass the buck anymore. Parents, teachers, and team members, take responsibility, own your mistakes (they will happen, we are human!) and then move on towards better outcomes. 

When you let go of the game playing and you step into the mindset of a LEADER, your stress level goes down, your HOPE increases, and best of all... you can start to see a team rally around what a child really needs for the future.

Parents, Teachers, and IEP Teams - If you REALLY want to create an impact, OWN the leadership role that you can take on. No matter your title at the table, YOU can lead. 

Keep in mind there can be more than one leader at the table!  EVERY person at the table has their area of expertise. Everyone can lead in the their sweet spot of knowledge and take in the knowledge of others. When this starts to happen, the child benefits BEYOND what anyone can imagine because of the honesty and respect that happens throughout the team. 

It's Time to Become a Leader on the IEP Team!

1. Parents - Join me in the ONLINE IEP HELP CENTER & get the tools you need to BE a leader on your child's IEP. You'll learn how to empower your entire team to lead in their responsibilities too! START HERE

2. Parents- Teachers- Therapists - If you LOVE being a leader and want to help others take Special Education to the next level, it time to BE an IEP COACH! Enroll Here & I'll mentor you on how to work in your local community and change special education one IEP at a time. 

Make a promise to yourself today... No more game playing. You will be a leader. You will listen, ask questions, take action and be responsible. You will stay the course, even on the tough days. You will BE BOLD and create the change that needs to happen in special education. 

I can't wait to LEAD special education to the next level with you!

With Hope & Determination Always...

Catherine Whitcher, M.Ed

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