You are not alone!
The most common obstacles that parents of students with special needs encounter are lack of information, the crushing feeling of isolation, and a constant emotional battle. The first and easiest step – join parent support groups within your school district. Taking this step helps deal with the feeling of isolation and lack of information.
If you are like most parents, after learning that your child has a disability, you turn to medical specialists and school personnel for support. If your school district is not being cooperative with what you think your child’s needs are, it can be extremely frustrating. Like we tell a lot of our clients, if it does not feel right, it probably is not right. Parent intuition is a powerful and truthful force. So, when the District decides to not cooperate with what you believe is best for your child, you feel a sense of distrust, and abandonment. Once broken, trust is hard to mend.
ANXIETY AND INTIMIDATION
Ever feel outnumbered at special education meetings? Even intimated by the meetings, which can then lead to anxiety over these meetings being scheduled? Again, you are not alone. Many parents feel this way. Meetings usually take place in a conference room, and there are usually many people at the meeting. Teachers (at least 2), guidance counselors, related service providers, an administrator, and the possibility for more school personnel. This is intimidating to most parents as they sit on the opposite side of the table. Given these dynamics, anxiety is a normal reaction. While experiencing anxiety, that in and of itself becomes a large obstacle to overcome to be able to advocate for your child to the best of your ability.
HELPLESSNESS LEADS TO OVER PROTECTION
All parents find it difficult to see their child struggle. Some parents will step in and take over for their child. We recommend identifying and resisting this urge. You will end up doing things for your child, instead of teaching your child. This is when self-helplessness can become a true concern.
Lowering your expectations for your child is also not the answer. Your child will sense the expectations that you as a parent have for them. This could change your child’s self-image. Enabling will only hurt them in the long run.
To avoid these obstacles affecting your child’s education, you do have options:
- Parent support groups
- Research from credible sources
- Parent Advocates
- Special Education Lawyers