Schools may struggle to understand that it’s ok for them to recognise difference and then offer the approaches that each child needs. Inclusion is not something achieved easily. It takes skill, understanding and solid consistent approaches to be truly successful. Inclusion that is lip service is easy to offer. There is a huge difference!!!
Political issues, funding, budgets and the cold factual approach will never wash with us parents. Our children are human beings. A schools budget, staffing levels and internal protocols are not our problem. We focus on our children. We focus on their world. Our job is to parent…. theirs is to teach and enthuse our children to learn.
More and more we hear that schools complete documentation inaccurately and don’t have the clear audit trail that we need as families fighting for the right support and placements in the right school. Schools hold power and vital kudos in decisions as to whether children apply for an ECHP or the individual support needed. If we don’t understand the process and we hear a teacher say there is no way you will get a plan for your child. They are not severe enough. Do not give up. In fact I learnt very quickly to simply say, could you pop that in writing with a justification and sign it please. It’s bloody amazing how many will not agree to do this.
If interventions or strategies are required for a child, the school must be encouraged to document it accurately. If the interventions on an IEP cease to work, document it and focus on the next idea. Too often have I seen inaccurate records and when you need them for your child they offer little support in your favour.
It seems schools are under pressure to perform and hence children with more discrete needs are left to struggle. Parents fight to be heard. But most importantly our children simply learn to “cope” not engage or fully learn.
We need a solid team around our children that simply want the right support offered without political and funding hats on. Simply together to ensure a child flourishes and develops and grows into adults who have learnt about themselves.
Ideas to keep confident when dealing with difficult schools:
- Keep a diary of everything
- Ensure all plans and minutes to any meeting are detailed and reflect EXACTLY what you have discussed and wanted discussing. Any inaccuracies need to be highlighted and changed. Don’t leave it to a point where it’s too late to go back and change. You will need this audit trail of your child’s journey whether it be fighting for a plan, support or long term school places
- Make sure you are able to have a voice. Take someone with you to meetings who can help you listen and speak out. We are super human most days but we are also human!!!
- Question any professional who you feel does not understand. This does not mean shout and get angry, but you can ask questions to understand everything and have a voice
- If a professional is flippant in their opinion ask them to put it in writing with their signature. You often find their flippancy decreases rapidly.
- Look at information out there, NAS, IPSEA and find out as much as you can to be informed.
- We fight with knowledge, understanding and intelligence to ensure we have the best for our children.
The warrior families!!!!!