Upset with the IEP process? Concerned about the constant chaos at IEP meetings? Have trouble maintaining control in your dealings with the school? Turn that “chronic complainer” label around. Kill them with kindness. Personal notes, treats at meetings, and accentuating the positive first are strategies that will help.
Having Difficulty With Your Child’s Teacher?
- Is your child struggling in class?
- Does the teacher think you are blaming her for your child’s difficulties in school?
Consider talking with your child’s teacher so you better understand the teacher’s concerns. Express your concerns. If you find there is reason for her concern, discuss options and listen to her choices. Document your conversations. That way, you can refer back to the details and follow up with questions or action.
Sometimes parents who are under pressure “spout off.” They may not know other ways to express their concerns.
On the other hand, teachers may see parents as adversaries. When someone does not share your professional perspective, it is normal and human to feel defensive.
Control Your Emotions
Take a deeper look. The empowered parent can be a teacher’s best ally.
When you can articulate the issues without bombast and realize the school is hearing your concerns, the chaos may decline.
Again, when parents feel empowered, they get their emotions under control and are less likely to explode.
Parents who spout off, chronically complain, or exhibit overtly aggressive behavior feel powerless to help their child. They feel left out of the team. They believe school personnel see them as less competent than the “professionals.” When parents become involved in the action plan to help their child, it is easier for them to calm down and take advantage of other options.
Can’t Afford an Attorney?
If a parent does not have the money to hire an attorney, there are other options.
For a much smaller amount (though still not cheap) you can consult with a special education attorney. This can result in developing a valuable action plan.
Consider connecting with an advocate from the Wrightslaw Yellow Pages for Kids. Lay people are frequently very well versed in regulations and case law. They also have the important experience of working directly with parents and districts. They have been in the trenches and have seen the nitty gritty of special education issues.
I know, from experience, that the processes can be overwhelming and intimidating. If you are persistent enough, you can get results.
If you are like many parents, emotions are your Achilles heel. Learn how to use your emotions as a source of energy and power. Focus on getting an appropriate education for your child – that’s What Advocates Do.