My students are some of the kindest, most impressive people you could hope to meet. I've seen them demonstrate the purest kinds of thoughtfulness and the most noble kinds of selflessness. They come from complicated families. They come from around the world. They come from impoverished neighborhoods. All of my students are eligible for special education services. Our school is the city's largest. It can be overwhelming, and it's easy for people like me to overlook a student in need. My students have potential, but to develop that potential many of them have to struggle through a thicket of troubles.
Some of my students confront difficulties that most of us have would struggle to imagine.
The social and emotional pressures they experience impact their opportunities for learning. We offer a variety of services that are meant to address their needs, but for institutions that work with people in need, the job is never done. Their needs are never met. My students are in the turning point years of their lives when they can either overcome and build the foundations for their futures or succumb and resign themselves to lesser lives.
Many of the families that I work with do not have the confidence that they need to fully participate in the decision-making that guides their children's education. They want to participate, but special education processes can be intimidating. Parents are critical resources, but they are often reluctant to speak up. When schools invite them to talk about their children, they often sit quietly and accept the answers that the professional educators provide.
I want to help my students' families to become their children's best advocates.
The IEP and Inclusion Tips for Parents and Teachers book shows families how decision-making happens in special eduction. It's designed to help them participate effectively for their children. The book gives parents step-by-step instuctions on things like how to prepare for an IEP meeting and how to track a child's progress. I hope to use this book to give parents what they need to feel like confident advocates for their children.
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