Unfortunately, Community Resource Coordination Groups (CRCG) are an asset that many parents, state agency staff and the general public are not aware of. A CRCG can provide help and support to many individuals with disabilities and their families while also supporting the efforts of professionals.
Because the stakes are so high, it is sometimes difficult for parents of children with special educational needs to advocate calmly and objectively for the educational and related services their children need.
Here are some common mistakes that undermine parents’ ability to obtain appropriate services:
This month, we want to talk about why inclusive education is important, and why ensuring that special education support is provided in a student’s least restrictive environment matters not only in the short term, but also in the long run.
DREDF is founded on the idea that disability rights are civil and human rights. In the Parent Training and Information Center (PTI), we work to train, support and empower parents and community partners to keep children with disabilities in their most inclusive, least restrictive educational settings, and to ensure that if children need a different kind of setting for some or all of their day, the long term goal is always to help them return to a program where they interact with children without disabilities. There are no special day classes in real life—we want all children to participate in and contribute to their communities, and to avoid institutionalization and isolation.
We know that sometimes the general education environment does not offer enough support to help a child reach their IEP goals. IEP goals are at the center of the special education process—once evaluation establishes a starting point, goals for one year later determine the types of services (speech, social skills, academic, motor, behavior, etc.) needed and how much specialized instruction, support and accommodations/modifications a student requires to receive a FAPE (free, appropriate, public education). We help parents understand their options, including the option to advocate to pull children out of their regular classrooms at times, because critical learning needs can’t be addressed there.
1. Start with the assumption that you are an equal partner in your child’s education.
Parents of children with special needs should be involved as equal partners in their child’s educational planning. Unfortunately, many parents say, “How can I be an equal partner? I am just a parent. I don’t know enough to work with all those professionals!” A parent who feels this way will not “speak up” and be the best advocate for their child.
Build a better relationship with your child by not judging. Rather, state the facts to correct behavior and improve parenting. Watch this video from TrueSelfParenting.com to learn more.
A positive parent-child relationship begins early in life. Watch this clip from the CDC and look for times when the parents could have used better communication with their children.
Hearing to your child’s negative talk or actions can be scary but the good news is, you can teach your child to talk back to his negative little voices. How do you do that? Well, the answer lies in YOU! Yes, your child learns from you on how you look at life, how you talk to your spouse and what you say about your work at home. Learn how to improve your child’s self esteem through communication in this video from Mind Edge.
President Obama has said that we are stronger when America fields a full team. Unfortunately, too many of the 6.5 million children and youth with disabilities in this country leave high school without the knowledge and skills they need to be successful in a 21st century, global economy. While the vast majority of students in special education do not have significant cognitive impairments that prohibit them from learning rigorous academic content, fewer than 10 percent of eighth graders with disabilities are proficient in reading and math on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). Too often, students’ educational opportunities are limited by low expectations. We must do better.
That’s why the Department is changing the way it holds states accountable for the education of students with disabilities. For many years, the Department primarily focused on whether states were meeting the procedural requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Generally, we have seen significant improvement in compliance.
But if kids are leaving high school without the ability to read or do math at a high-school level, compliance is simply not enough. This year, we also focused on improving results when we made determinations as to whether states are effective in meeting the requirements and purposes of IDEA.
With this year’s IDEA determinations, we looked at multiple outcome measures of student performance, including the participation of students with disabilities in state assessments, proficiency gaps in reading and math between students with disabilities and all students, and performance in reading and math on NAEP.
I believe this change in accountability represents a significant and long-overdue raising of the bar for special education. Last year, when we only considered compliance data in making annual determinations, 41 states and territories met requirements.
This year, however, when we include data on how students are actually performing, only 18 states and territories meet requirements.
In enacting IDEA, Congress recognized that improving educational results for children with disabilities is an essential element of our national policy of ensuring equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for individuals with disabilities. We must do everything we can to support states, school districts, and educators to improve results for students with disabilities. We must have higher expectations for our children, and hold ourselves as a nation accountable for their success.
Article was published on the HOMEROOM blog on June 25, 2014