I recently went with a mom to a parent concerns meeting. I actually thought it was to be an IEP meeting but upon arrival, there were only two people present, the psychologist and the classroom teacher. I was quickly corrected and told that the IEP that we had requested would be set in July.
There are many concerns about the IEP, one of which is the multitude of irrelevant, unmeasurable goals that need revision. But we concentrated on those parental concerns in this meeting: lack of communication with home and school seemed to be at the heart of so much. Change needs communication. And without change, success can be at risk.
This child is currently in a self-contained classroom with seven other kids. There are times that he does go to an inclusion class where he is with neurotypical kids and those with IEP’s. Mom has asked for complete inclusion for the upcoming year in second grade. In asking both staff what their concerns were regarding this desire, the teacher responded that he would be concerned that this child would be frustrated and bored without the ability to move around as much as he does in the self-contained class.
His reasoning is valid but the discussion I think should not stop there. If this was a reason for keeping our kids out of a least restrictive environment, so many more would not be receiving FAPE (Free and Appropriate Public Education). ADHD accommodations and ADHD modifications specific to this child can play a great role in the success in this desired classroom. In addition, it could be a trial period of maybe 6 weeks of inclusion with observations and assessments in order to have good data to make good decisions.
Mom was frustrated because she had many times tried to find out how her son was doing when he did spend some time in the inclusion setting. Responses were less than informative and mom felt that what was said to her indicated that he was left on his own without support and concern for how he was doing.
How can this be stopped? Perhaps there was some misunderstanding on both sides. But in the end, this mom wants her child to thrive and grow. As a member of the IEP team, she has the right and responsibility to have written in the document specific times of the week or month when she will receive objective content from either the teachers or a case manager who gathers this information. Specific criteria could be set up to insure everything is being covered in the communication.
We hear this all the time: You the parent are an integral part of the team. You know your child best! But the reality is that the parent is an outsider, many times feeling incapable of making a difference and advocating for her child. It certainly can be intimidating, but you are part of the IEP team! And you do know more than anyone about your child and how things will affect him. Ongoing advocating and assessment necessitates documented communication between school and you, an integral part of your child’s success!
To understand more about what ADHD advocacy is, and how it can dramatically help your child, please contact me directly for a free consultancy session. On our call, you will have the opportunity to share the challenges that your child is facing, and get instant feedback on critical next steps to help both you and your child. You can contact me directly by clicking here!
A little about the author and founder of ADD Advocate, Karen Lowry: I am a certified ADHD Coach. ADHD advocacy is my passion. There are so many school support challenges facing our children, that knowing your rights as a parent have never been more crucial. Effective ADHD coaching depends on effective advocacy for our kids. Remember, if you should ever have any questions about anything regarding school support, or just understanding about ADHD, IEP programs, 504 plans, etc….