First, as an Early Childhood Special Education Teacher, parents/guardians are essential in getting services started for children that have or suspected of having a disability. Parents are their child’s first teacher. The program I work at struggles with this issue every year, but we continue to make progress with consistent and familiar staff in our Support Services department. With this next statement I mean no disrespect, as a white woman, working in a program that serves Native American students, it was extremely difficult to get special education services for students. I had to overcome trust issues, prejudices, stigma, and beliefs surrounding disabilities and being an outsider. Today, we have parents/guardians soliciting help from our Support Services Department when a concerns or questions arise. How to did I start to address the issue about parent involvement? First, I set aside the ideas of what I thought I knew or was taught about Native Americans. Also, I asked questions about things that I did not understand and what the protocols or procedures were in certain situations. In Native American families, I learned that food is at the center of most events, and families does not just consist of mom, dad, siblings, but second and third cousins,...
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...rtant to show the same respect and have the same expectations as I would for typical developing students. How students with disabilities met my expectations will be based on their individual needs.
The role of parent involvement is the IEP process is essential and changes as children get older. Even with older students, teachers need to understand and be aware that parents are their child’s first teacher and they have information about their student’s abilities that we may not see in school. According to Katz, in order to have a successful IEP team, it must be built upon foundation of trust, empathy, and mutual respect. I believe that getting parents involved in their child’s education needs to start as early as possible. The more parents, teachers, specialist, and when appropriate students work together the more students with disabilities will succeed in school.
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