Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Cost of Respect in an IEP

By Doug Goldberg Special Education Advisor Blog

Cue the music…..What you want. Baby, I got. What you need. Do you know I got it? All I’m askin’. Is for a little respect. At the IEP. R-E-S-P-E-C-T Find out what it means to me.

Respect, is something we all want when we are discussing a way to help our children; unfortunately this doesn’t always happen. So, when did the cost of respect start equaling my advocacy fee? Granted, advocates are only called when there are disagreements between the School and the Parents but these disagreements should not be over how we treat each other in an IEP. The last two IEP meetings I attended I was warned by the Parent about one member of the IEP Team that didn’t respect their opinion. Upon leaving both IEP meetings the first comment from the Parent was, “that was quite a bit different from last time.” By the way, one of the two meetings we are still going to have to file for Due Process but at least the disagreement was about the child’s IEP and not about respect.

I’m in no way saying everyone needs to hire an advocate to get respect or that hiring an advocate guarantees respect. Try reading Predetermination in an IEP and you will see my wife and I run into our share of “Intimidators” but the majority of the time we are able to facilitate a discussion. Parents do need to know that they should be respected and if that is not currently happening, it might be a good idea to talk with an experienced advocate or attorney.

My son has had an IEP for almost seven years and we love the current IEP Team that we have in place. That doesn’t mean we always agree on the proper services but it means that we can have an open dialogue and discussion that might still end in a disagreement. We have actually filed for Due Process four times over various disagreements but that has not affected our relationship with the current team. As a matter of fact, we had an issue last week at School with my son regarding State testing that took the combined efforts of the Resource Teacher, General Education Teacher, my wife and myself to work out but you will hear more about that in my wife’s blog later in the week.

I started this blog by asking, when did the cost of respect start equaling my advocacy fee? I really didn’t answer the question because the only people that can answer are the team members that are showing the disrespect. My hope is by telling parents they deserve respect they will know how to handle the situation if it arises.

Article HERE.

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