By Marcie Lipsitt, NCLD Parent Leader
If only? Parents are there: confident, ready, and relaxed. I walk in as the educational advocate and am not viewed as an adversary or pit bull. All of your child’s service providers are in attendance, and if there are evaluation results, they are clear and easy for parents to understand. The special education administrator attends and remembers that special education is at no cost to you, the parent.
Special education teachers are trained in best educational practices, research-based methodologies, and computer software designed to address deficits in reading, writing, and mathematics. Parents are not considered the “expert,” anymore than you would be if your child had leukemia, and the oncologist was reviewing treatment options.
If your child has a 1:1 paraprofessional or a paraprofessional is assigned to one or more of your child’s classes, this person would be in attendance and a valued member of the IEP team.
And holy cow, actress Whoopi Goldberg (who has dyslexia), business leader Charles Schwab, and Yale professor and renowned author Sally Shaywitz (Overcoming Dyslexia) are sitting in the meeting larger than life, ready to cheer us on and remind us of all that our children can achieve.
The IEP team would remember that learning disabilities are neurologically based life-long disabilities that can be successfully remediated with research-based instruction delivered with fidelity. IEP team members would feel free to express concerns about your child’s progress and come prepared to draft annual goals, supplementary aids, programs and services. Members would not talk to you outside of the IEP meeting and say, “Don’t tell anyone that I told you….”
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