Advice for Parents of Kids With Learning Disabilities | Real Parents, Tough Topics

When we started on the journey through the schools, I had no idea what to expect, none. And I’m just wondering what you wish that you had known about dealing with the schools. What would you have wished you knew earlier? An IEP is a blueprint, but it is not a guarantee for services. I had to learn the law. I had to learn to put my emotions aside. I had to learn not to necessarily discount things I may have heard about my child that I didn’t like hearing, or didn’t align with my experience of him. Because they’re also seeing a different aspect of the child. The district knew far more about services and resources than I did, but they did not know anything about my child. If there were one thing I wish I had known, it was that I had more of a voice, and it didn’t have to be an adversarial voice. That I could have said, “You know what? This relationship isn’t working for me or for my son.” I think stepping in at the beginning and speaking to outside people, outside professionals, about what the issues were, how the issues needed to be handled, probably would have made that beginning stage a lot more smooth as well. I think it’s also important for people to keep in mind that, and I’m an attorney, and so very often when I walk into an IEP meeting they’re like, “Oh we have an attorney here!” You know, they’re very careful. But don’t necessarily enter into these conversations in a contentious kind of way. If you know what you’re talking about, and you’re willing to work with the school district, the school district more often than not will be willing to work with you. If I were to do it all over again, I would have gone straight to the pediatrician and said, “These are the things that we have been encountering.” You know, what kind of tests are available that you can refer us to? To be able to get to the root issue of why he’s struggling in this way. So taking a little more control [yes] back to you. Yes, earlier. Earlier.

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