Understanding and working within the special education system
When you have a child who has special needs as far as attending school and learning are concerned, the special education system can offer a variety of benefits aimed at helping your child reach his/her education goals. It can be difficult to fully understand the special education system, and everything needed to effectively work within it. The goods news is that we have some experience with working in the special education system, and also with helping ensure families are set up with the correct resources and support. Throughout the following paragraphs we will walk you through some important tips for helping your child whether he/she has a learning disability such as dyslexia, or an autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Know your rights and advocate when necessary
There are various laws concerning special education that are in place, and so it's always helpful to be aware of such laws and how they may impact your family. You may find yourself engaging in a significant amount of special education advocacy in order to ensure that your child's needs are adequately being met. There may also be a variety of grants and special education services that you aren't taking advantage of but would be if you knew about them. This is why it always helps to be well-versed in the current laws surrounding special education, as well as the services available to help your child's unique case.
Understand your child's goals and data
Having a good understanding of your child's goals is necessary when embarking on working within the special education system. It's also a good idea to have all of the raw data concerning you child's abilities and progress, etc. You can request the raw data for your child, and should review it 3 days before your meeting with you child's school in order to meaningfully participate in the IEP process with your child's educators. Developing annual goals for your child's IEP can help to close some of the gaps between what is being expected of your child for his/her grade level, and the level your child is currently operating at.
Make use of various resources available
There are a variety of resources for your special needs child whether he/she is in need of extra support during test taking time, tutoring services to help combat a learning disability, or extra support in the classroom to help with an autism spectrum disorder. The Center for Parent Information & Resources is a great place to begin learning about the different resources available, as well as the sites hyperlinked throughout this article. We also provide a variety of resources on the Big Sky Therapeutic Services site to help parents ensure they are getting the right amount of help for their children. Special education services can follow your child to college if needed as well, so the sooner you are aware of what is available, the sooner your child can start reaching his/her educational goals.
Reference professionals working outside of the school system when needed
It can be difficult knowing the ins and outs of the special education system. It may help to join a SEPTA, or a special education PTA, or you may even want to start one if there isn't one already set up in your community. With the complexity working within special education system can bring, you may find that seeking extra support outside of the school system is helpful. If your child has an autism spectrum disorder, for example, special services may be available for you to help assist you not only in school, but also in the home and around your community to help train your child in a way that is most beneficial behaviorally. The services provided by Big Sky Therapeutic Services include behavioral therapy services such as ABA therapy, and parent-child classes designed to strengthen family bonds and facilitate adjusting to societal norms. Feel free to contact us to learn more about the services we provide, to be given a referral, or to be added to our waiting list.