Advocacy Skills: 5-Be Realistic

Hello, Parents!

Here is where the rubber meets the road, as they say in Cliche-Town.  We know what our child needs, and the school district has a budget that doesn’t quite match.  Or the school staff doesn’t have the specialist title on its list of employees.  We wonder how our child’s needs will be met without enough money being thrown around or the exact program being given, or the precise professional being on staff.  Is it time to sue?  NO!

Forgive your school district for being like every other one.  And give the staff credit for their originality and ability to look at the total resource picture to find solutions.  We parents don’t know what professional training for the various professions might include, but people who supervise them do.  Often school staff can do things that fall under several professional titles.  They have programs available that can be taken apart and re-assembled to do many different jobs and meet many other sets of requirements.

Did you know your school’s occupational therapist can do about 50% of a developmental optometrist’s therapy for a child who has double vision or amblyopia?  WHOA!  That will save YOU money while it develops the school district’s knowledge that it can now serve an entirely new segment of needs.  The district isn’t required to pay for vision therapy, but it can help in this way.  This is just one example of why being realistic in our thinking allows us to scrounge around in the resource box to find alternatives.

Here is another sample.  There are so many reading programs available, but people know Lindamood-Bell works in specific ways to solve specific problems.  Someone who knows Lindamood-Bell and other programs can use other programs to create a lot of the same training for a child who needs what the Lindamood-Bell program provides, and that could be enough.  If it isn’t, then a parent could make a stronger demand for Lindamood-Bell and only Lindamood-Bell.   It’s like buying a car–the state doesn’t have to give a Cadillac when a Kia would do the same job.

If we are realistic, we can approve an IEP plan that gives our child FAPE even if it isn’t a “brand name” plan.


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