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I was fortunate to be asked to be a guest on the live show this morning. I was very honored to speak on such a controversial topic. My experience is vast...I have been an ASL (American Sign Language) Interpreter for the Lincoln, Benton, and Linn Counties since 1988. As an Interpreter I have had the privilege of covering IEP Meetings for Deaf Consumers. My consumer was either the child with the IEP or the parents of the special needs child. Either way, because I was able to participate in IEP's as a third party, I was able to learn from these encounters. What I learned was shocking, but a true reality. Most IEP meetings are done with in a hour, and most of these meetings happen immediately after the school has been dismissed. The instructors and mediators that come are tired and with an extremely short attention span because they have two or three more IEP scheduled after the current one. The parents come prepared to hear complaints and weakness about their child, and some of the parent come not knowing how to participate. I have witnessed intimidation from both parties, teacher, specialist, and parents as well. I have witnessed conversations where the parent has no idea what the idioms mean or what the terms that are being used relate to, and instead of asking a question for clarification, they feel intimidated and unschooled and ashamed of their own limited background and do not actively participate in the IEP allowing the teachers to make all the recommendations and agreeing to each goal. When my daughter was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at the age of four, I already was prepared for her IEP and her testing,and her special academic progress. I was already educated in the protocols on these meetings, on what to advocate for and what to disagree with. I am a strong advocate of my daughter, who is now 17 and will graduate a semester early because she has done so spectacular, and with a normal HS diploma, not one based on her abilities. She has been mainstreamed, and because of this mainstreaming, she has learn to adapt to real life challenges, and real life circumstances, and she has grown. I think the real education begins at HOME. Find ways to help each parent that gets a diagnosis of a learning disability or any type of special education need a way to get resources. Find other parents to help, find community members with children of the same school district and learn what has been so successful. COMMUNICATION must happen from all parties, parents, teachers, specialists, inclusion specialists, etc. Parents need to feel a part of the team, not talk down too, or ignored, or ashamed of their child. EMPOWER them with knowledge so they can be better parents, and help EMPOWER the schools by enforcing the IEP on all levels of learning. Learning just doesn't happen at school, it is an EVERY DAY EXPERIENCE, and we as parents need to learn to TEACH at home as well as TEACH at schools. Empowering the parents to have better knowledge may help reduce the "Daycare" idealism that is now established by the special education class rooms across the state.
posted 5 years, 1 month ago
posted 5 years, 1 month ago
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