Advising New Parents

It’s that time of year again – time to buy school supplies, Fall clothes, and healthy snacks for the school lunch box. It’s time to pay the exorbitant school fees for our children’s FREE education. And it’s time for parents of children with disabilities to see if they will face more battles with their school districts while trying to ensure their children receive an appropriate education.

I remember when my first child with disabilities entered the public school system. I was naïve and assumed everyone would love my child as much as I did, and would want to do everything they could to make her school experience a positive one. Along the way to high school where that youngest child now attends, I learned that her educational journey would not always be rainbows and unicorns.

If you could talk to that parent I was back then – the parent who trusted and believed in her educational system and its commitment to ALL children – what would you say? What would your advice be to new parent of children with disabilities, children who will start preschool or kindergarten this year?

Here’s my contribution to that parent, and please share yours in the comments:

Believe that your school district will care for your child. Believe they will always do what they can to ensure your child receives an appropriate education. But, document any issues – no matter how small. Prepare as if you will be one day be going to due process against your school district, but hope you never have to travel that path. That piece of advice, given to me so many years ago, made all the difference to my child. 99% of parents who take their school districts to due process lose. I prevailed at due process and my daughter did receive the education to which she was entitled because I followed that advice given to me over 13 years ago.

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