Several weeks ago I responded to a mom who was stuck in RTI purgatory. My advice for her was:
Step 2 (a little more tricky) – Educate the school people so they understand that the school is required to evaluate a child for special ed eligibility.
Step 3 – Learn effective advocacy skills, in addition to learning about RTI and special ed eligibility.
Tip: If your child has a disability and should be found eligible for special education services, you will have to… negotiate with school personnel for a long time. Unless you are prepared to take your child out of public school and educate him yourself forever, you must learn how to deal with school people.
Learn Effective Advocacy Skills
You will find tons of info about how to be a more effective advocate on the Wrightslaw site. Links to help you complete Step 3.
Advocating for Your Child – Getting Started. Good special education services are intensive and expensive. Resources are limited. If you have a child with special needs, you may wind up battling the school district for the services your child needs. To prevail, you need information, skills, and tools.
Asking the Right Questions. How does the school perceive you? Good article about how to ask questions and get better services.
Game Plan for New Parents. Introductory article; focuses on importance of planning and preparation.
Advocacy Rule #1: Write Things Down When They Happen. You can’t wait until the last minute to prepare documentation. Documenting events and conversations later is never as effective or accurate as writing things down, in detail, at the time they occur. Here are some tips for parents, teachers, and paraprofessionals.
My Child’s Test Scores Dropping, School Doesn’t Care – What Can I Do Sue Whitney advises this parent, “You need a game plan. Before you can devise a game plan, you need to gather information, manage your emotions, and do your homework.”
Parent Advocacy: What You Should Do – and Not Do. Good advice from attorney Leslie Margolis about steps parents can take to get quality educational services for their children with disabilities.
Understanding the Playing Field. Indiana advocate Pat Howey talks to parents about trust, expectations, power struggles between parents and schools and how to avoid them, the parental role, and the need to understand different perspectives.
If you can swing it, attend a Wrightslaw program about Special Ed Law and Advocacy. The schedule is here: http://www.wrightslaw.com/speak/schedule.htm