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Whether you are a parent or a teacher, your goal throughout the individualized education program (IEP) process should always be to help your student reach his or her potential. Since parents and teachers are arguably the most important adults in a child’s life, they are best suited to help that child prepare for and face challenges and new experiences. They are also uniquely positioned to model teamwork and compromise for a student by working together in a positive way to solve disputes.
Learning At Home and At School
Whether your child is new to special education or has been receiving services for years, transitioning to an unfamiliar environment can be frightening. By keeping lines of communication open and working together, parents and teachers can ease a student’s anxiety about a transition and ensure that a child is always learning. In Making a Smooth Transition to School, parents and teachers are given practical advice to help ease a student into a new classroom, school or program. Parents and teachers will find helpful tips on how they can prepare the student ahead of time and solidify routines before that crucial first day of school.
Additionally, an important goal of the IEP process is to create students who are continual, lifelong learners. In Consistency Between the Classroom and Home, parents and teachers will find specific ways that they can encourage students to continue learning at home. Since parents are uniquely positioned to help students apply the skills they’ve learned, they are encouraged to work on their children’s IEP goals outside of the classroom. In addition, teachers will find specific tasks that they can ask parents to complete at home with their children to support these goals and the overall academic progress.
Open Communication is Key
When the lines of communication are kept open, the parent-teacher relationship should remain a positive one. What happens when something goes wrong, though? In Where to Turn When You Have Concerns parents will find a list of important IEP team members who can answer questions or help to address concerns. In addition, this article will help parents understand the authority and the limitations of each team member so that parents can approach these team members with realistic expectations and goals. This section also encourages parents to go through the appropriate team members before considering any legal action.
Unfortunately, even the most well-meaning parents and teachers sometimes disagree. In Strategies for IEP Dispute and Conflict Resolution, parents will discover how conflict resolution is built into the IEP process. Parents and teachers will also find IEP-specific guidelines that will help make the process easier and reduce the likelihood that a conflict will escalate. And, both parents and teachers are reminded that the IEP process should be child-centered, and that all team members should work collaboratively to create a plan that best suits the needs of the child.