working with teachers

How to Be Your Child's Best Advocate: How to Talk to Your Child's Teacher

Merely Me Health Guide February 02, 2009
  • If your child is of school age then some of the most important people in your child's life other than family and friends are his or her teachers.  Teachers will be spending a lot of time with your child during the day. So it is all the more imperative for you, as a parent and advocate ...

9 Comments
  • Conerned parent.
    Sep. 30, 2011

    This is a wonderful article, and I wish I had read it when I first started going to IEP meetings.  My child is in a very good school, but I find it hard to talk to her teacher.  I have done everything the article mentioned.  The school's policy is to communicate as little as possible with the parents.  Sometimes I just want to share something,...

    RHMLucky777

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    This is a wonderful article, and I wish I had read it when I first started going to IEP meetings.  My child is in a very good school, but I find it hard to talk to her teacher.  I have done everything the article mentioned.  The school's policy is to communicate as little as possible with the parents.  Sometimes I just want to share something, but trying to do so is fraught with tension.  I am getting a lot of personal growth about letting go, but being silenced is a lonely, anxious experience.  On the good side, I know my daughter is getting a good educaiton.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Feb. 05, 2009

    I think the most important of all the advice is to get involved.

     

    Unfortunately in the school system it is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.  If you are not involved then there is a much better chance that your child will fall through the cracks and will not get the attention he or she deserves.

     

    Once you do make the decision to...

    RHMLucky777

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    I think the most important of all the advice is to get involved.

     

    Unfortunately in the school system it is the squeaky wheel that gets the grease.  If you are not involved then there is a much better chance that your child will fall through the cracks and will not get the attention he or she deserves.

     

    Once you do make the decision to get involved, remember your child is only one child in a class of many, so it may not be easy to get everything you are looking for.  However once a dialog is begun with the teacher the odds of acheiving your goals increase markedly.

     

    This was a great article and it will be useful to anyone who has a special needs child in the school system.  It provides many useful ideas to take into consideration when trying to be an advocate for your child.

    • Merely Me
      Health Guide
      Feb. 11, 2009

      Thank you for this feedback. 

       

      You are so right about the squeaky wheel.  I feel bad for the parents who either don't know or do not have the time to be a squeaky wheel.  So many kids get lost between the cracks of the system as they have nobody to truly advocate for them.

       

       

  • Glen Hogard, SCAC
    Feb. 05, 2009

    Both articles have golden information within them.  I have sent the link to a new client with a high school son who's teachers who now know he has a new diagnosis of AD/HD, are shaming him because he is an honor student in most areas but has trouble writing.  He speaks Chinese, another foreign language, plays in the orchestra and does well in maths...

    RHMLucky777

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    Both articles have golden information within them.  I have sent the link to a new client with a high school son who's teachers who now know he has a new diagnosis of AD/HD, are shaming him because he is an honor student in most areas but has trouble writing.  He speaks Chinese, another foreign language, plays in the orchestra and does well in maths and history.  He is being told by several teachers that he is not trying hard enough or is lazy, etc. we've heard it all. 

     

    I told the mother it was like asking a one-handed person to grow another hand.  We will try to find a way to enable him to translate his thoughts onto paper (record??) but until then, I'm requesting another IEP (which was just done in a too general way) now that I'm involved to focus in on some more specific accomodations that might work for my client.

     

    To parents who are overwhelmed:  there are experts who will accompany you as an advocate after evaluation or AD/HD coaching to help the team of parent, teacher, physician, and counselor with your child's IEP.  Remember, federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities  Education Act requires the school to develop a specific Individual Education Plan for your child.  It's the law. 

     

    However, follow the author's advice and become involved,  form a team, and frame concerns in terms of requests not demands.  Also, do mirror to them what they've said and agreed upon and keep a record in case changes need to be made or provisions enforced.  Sometimes it only takes one shaming teacher to deflate the self-esteem of some vulnerable AD/HD kids and other chidren with disabilities.

     

    Glen Hogard, SCAC

    • Merely Me
      Health Guide
      Feb. 11, 2009

      Well thank you so much for this.  I hope this information helps in some way.  I have heard these things too in reference to children having special needs...from teachers to speech therapists.  These kids are not lazy.  They simply need the proper accomodations to do well. 

       

      Bringing an advocate to your IEP meeting is very helpful. ...

      RHMLucky777

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      Well thank you so much for this.  I hope this information helps in some way.  I have heard these things too in reference to children having special needs...from teachers to speech therapists.  These kids are not lazy.  They simply need the proper accomodations to do well. 

       

      Bringing an advocate to your IEP meeting is very helpful.  We brought our speech therapist to ours so long ago and she helped me to stay present and not lose focus.  Things got so heated for ours that I just wanted to quit.  But through some moral support, I stuck with it, and we were awarded the services my son needed.

       

      It is nice to meet you and I will be writing more articles along this vein...I do hope you come back to read more and to lend your insights.  I thank you very much.

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous
    Feb. 04, 2009

    These are great guidelines from someone who has obviously been there.  I believe school systems would benefit from having parents like you that have gone through the process of seeking benefits in a particular system as advisors on exactly how and what parents are hoping for and expecting from the system, and the actual outcomes.  It would be enlightening...

    RHMLucky777

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    These are great guidelines from someone who has obviously been there.  I believe school systems would benefit from having parents like you that have gone through the process of seeking benefits in a particular system as advisors on exactly how and what parents are hoping for and expecting from the system, and the actual outcomes.  It would be enlightening sometimes to have parents listening to other parents as they state their needs too.  I like it that you advocate getting to know the teacher and making education a team effort.  It is important to know what the teacher is up against and how you can help him or her out as you both try to help your child.  I have a sister who has taught special needs kids in several counties in our state.  Some counties were richer than others.  In some she has had to take money from her own pocket to simply provide needed supplies for poorer students.  And you are right on about volunteering, for the obvious reason that you can help,  but this is also the best way to learn what your child and the school system need for improvement. 

    • Merely Me
      Health Guide
      Feb. 11, 2009

      Yes so true...I have been there on both sides so I know how it can be.  Teachers have such a demanding and quite often frustrating and thankless job.  And likewise it is hard for parents to ensure that their child's needs are being met within the school system.   Compromise is the name of the game it seems.

       

      Thank you for sharing your...

      RHMLucky777

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      Yes so true...I have been there on both sides so I know how it can be.  Teachers have such a demanding and quite often frustrating and thankless job.  And likewise it is hard for parents to ensure that their child's needs are being met within the school system.   Compromise is the name of the game it seems.

       

      Thank you for sharing your thoughts here...they are very appreciated.

  • Paul
    Feb. 03, 2009

    I have never seen something as thorough and fair as this, placing responsibility on all, as it should be. Too often, we are quick to place blame, instead of working to build the best team possible. Treating each other with respect and insisting on being a part of our child's future, not just an observer, has to be the child's best chance in the education system....

    RHMLucky777

    Read More

    I have never seen something as thorough and fair as this, placing responsibility on all, as it should be. Too often, we are quick to place blame, instead of working to build the best team possible. Treating each other with respect and insisting on being a part of our child's future, not just an observer, has to be the child's best chance in the education system.  

    I guess you have been on all sides, you certainly see them! I wish I had this article when my children were younger. There are ideas and approaches here which a caring teacher would love and should enlist them as an ally for your child.

    • Merely Me
      Health Guide
      Feb. 11, 2009

      Thank you so much for this...it truly is about being a team.  It is unfortunate when things turn adversarial between students, parents, and the school system.  But I can understand how it can happen.  I hope my writing here will be of help to others who are going through the process of educating their children through the public school system....

      RHMLucky777

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      Thank you so much for this...it truly is about being a team.  It is unfortunate when things turn adversarial between students, parents, and the school system.  But I can understand how it can happen.  I hope my writing here will be of help to others who are going through the process of educating their children through the public school system.

       

       

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