More often than not, I hear how schools are doing a disservice to our special needs kids….
More often than not, I hear how we should be ashamed of our educators and the decisions they are making on behalf of our kids….
More often than not, I hear that the Special Education system is failing our future generation….
I want it to be known that my topic tonight is not to point out groups, teachers or those that have spoken negatively about Special Education. More so, this is a perspective piece that divulges into my own mind and depicts a new and different outlook.
I want to be honest, I have been at that ARD meeting (Special education meeting that discusses the child’s goals, services and progress) and my mind going ninety miles an hour. My mind spinning in the details the committee are throwing at me; related services, goals, progress, equipment, educational necessity, and least restrictive environment. You see, working in special ed gave me an advantage when it came time for my own son’s educational rights. I believe I walked into that first initial ARD with a big head, thinking I knew it all and that there was no way this school was going to walk all over this girl. You see, my mentality gave me a negative view point from the get go. Being surrounded by pessimistic people was starting to create my personal view point on the topic. I hadn’t given the school a chance to make their own case and resolve things before raising a fuss myself. Now don’t get me wrong it hasn’t always been butterflies and lilies. We have had some problems and with multiple meetings we were able to resolve things. This years school team is a world of difference but honestly it’s not fair to say the prior years were awful. Rather, I have viewed those years as learning experiences for myself and the school personnel.
This leads me to a total 180 perspective change. I had the chance to attend an advocacy conference relating to special educations. I met people from all over the country. I made some great contacts and learned about ADA and IDEA more in depth. While I was looking forward to this conference for months I found myself disappointed. While I was living in my own little bubble and my own little special education world; I found that the rest of the country were angry. In some instances they were rightfully so. I knew from my own network and world that families struggled with the school districts. But what I didn’t realize was how many lawsuits come from them.
It saddened me to hear of due process, litigation and process resolution. All of these things were somewhat new to me. I knew of them but not in depth. The amount of special education cases across the country is extremely depressing. I’m not doubting the validity of these cases however it worries me that perhaps some could have been resolved on the school level. I found myself trying to relate these swapped stories with my own son’s situation. It relived me that my son’s team works with us and wants what’s also best for him. While I personally have no experience with such lawsuits (and hope I never do) it brought me to a sense of humbleness.
I realized that for the last three years of my son’s education, I had entered that room with somewhat a poor attitude. And while I wanted what was best for Linden, I may have been approaching it in a negative way. There has never been a moment that lawsuit has crossed my mind. I believe before jumping to due process, you have a responsibility as a parent to work it out with the school. And I can humbly say I have done just that. I do hope that for future situations amount the children of abilities, that their school district works with them just the same.
*I felt I needed to include an adorable picture of my favorite little man even though it doesn’t really relate to my blog post.