As and educator, I have found that most of my conversations with parents about what they want the most for their children usually ends with the same answer; they want them to have the best, well-rounded education possible. It is an answer which most give. For this reason parents will sometimes go out of their way to ensure their children get this.
We parents of special-needs children are no different. Yet, at the same time, we do have other concerns that may go beyond the typical desire for a good education. Many of these concerns can be voiced at Individual Education Plan (IEP) annual meetings. However, others – depending on the child’s disability – want to know if the child is getting the accommodations or modifications he or she needs or is receiving pertinent services to deal with social, emotional, speech or other educational issues. Parents may want to discuss such issues as total inclusion vs mainstreaming.(See sub-pages)
On a personal note, I chose total inclusion for my daughter. I found that this choice greatly increased her social skills and while she did take speech therapy, I believe interacting with others in the classroom, increased her verbal skills tremendously. However, each parent must decide what is best for their child.
The concerns may vary when the various types of disabilities becomes an issue. For instance, parents with students with developmental or intellectual disorders may have concerns dealing with the student’s progress in reaching educational goals that are written onto the “goals and objective” pages. These pages are an essential part of all IEPs; however, this particular group of students may have more intense goals that go beyond the academic ones often written. They may have goals for such things as learning to tie their shoes with 80% accuracy. These issues will be discussed further on the IEP sub-page.
I have found the following to be the most common educational concerns of parents, despite the type of disability the child may have.
1.Homework: many parents will ask if the teachers are giving the students homework.
2. Accommodation/modification: are certain practices by the teacher being used to ensure the child is being helped in his/her educational endeavors.
3. Teacher awareness: Most parents are very concerned that the general education teachers are aware of the student’s disability.
4. Extra help: Parents want to know if the children are being supported by someone. They want to know if the child is getting the services he/she needs.
The bottom line is we all want the best for our children whether it’s education or services to help them obtain their education.
These desires can be achieved!