I know how some people look at me now. I’m that crazy mom. Any mom that cares enough not to stop advocating for her child must crazy, right? I know what’s right for my child. After all, who knows him better than I do? I’ve lived with him his entire life. He’ll turn eight in October and I’ve seen him through everything he’s been through. Aside from his father, who knows him better than I do? Certainly not the school system or the specialists. I do.
Yet, when I express my opinion about what’s best for my child in a meeting, whose opinion gets shoved aside the most? Mine. And in a way I get it. I’m a special education teacher myself and sometimes parents get emotional and can’t think beyond their raw emotions. They need time to process. The thing is, when I’ve processed and I’m thinking logically and I know the research and I myself am an expert in the field, don’t you think someone ought to listen to me?
Oftentimes, lately, no one does. I have perfectly sound reasons for what I believe. I can show them the research behind what I’m talking about. I can provide evaluations to back up my statements. And it still takes and act of Congress to get anyone to take my statements seriously. I’m seen as an emotional, unstable, illogical parent that’s just not thinking clearly. They must know what’s best for my child, right? In truth, they know what’s best for their school. They know what’s easiest for their school. I, too, know what that’s like. But I also know the law, the rules, and the regulations.
And in case you read my last post about not knowing how to move on, I decided not to move on. I just couldn’t do it. My son deserved more than that. I thought back to a time when he had teachers that believed in him and he actually did work above his grade level as a result. When expected to do more, my son will do more. My son will rise to the expectations presented to him. If the expectations are low, he will rise only as far as expected. As his mother, I believe in him. I made that clear. I made it clear that if no one else would teach him 2nd grade material, I would, even though it went against IDEA – Section 300.116, which says that consideration is given to any potential harmful effect on the child or on the quality of services that he or she needs; and a child with a disability is not removed from education in age appropriate regular classrooms solely because of needed modifications in the general education curriculum. Notice it doesn’t say developmentally appropriate regular classrooms.
I got a phone call yesterday and I they informed me that he would be in the 2nd grade. We’re having a meeting next week to go over his IEP and discuss the needed modifications in the classroom. I will meet his teacher and hopefully go over the curriculum and get a heads-up on what he will need. I’m hoping to get a jump-start on things. I’ve already perused her website and started getting resources together for him. I’m proactive that way.
The lesson: When it comes to advocating for your child, do your research. Make sure you know what’s right for your child. Know enough about it to talk about it calmly and logically. And in the end, when you know what’s right, don’t give up on it. Your child only has you.