What Are Special Education Dragons, and 4 Tips to Deal With Them to Benefit Your Child’s Education! – Education

Are you a parent with a child with autism or learning disabilities that receive special education services? Have you been trying to advocate that your child receive needed services to no avail? Then you may be dealing with a special education dragon!When my first book came out in 2007, I included a section about why some educators lied to parents.These reasons are:1. Some lie or provide misinformation because they do not know the law (or pretend they do not know the law).
2. Some lie because they want parents to believe that the law gives them more power than it actually does.
3. Some lie because they believe the parent may be vulnerable in some way (divorce, single parent, etc.)
4. Some lie about a child’s progress (overstating such progress) so that they can deny intensive services.
5. Some lie, and state that they do not pay for certain services so that they do not set a precedent of paying for those services (Applied Behavioral Analysis, private tutoring, etc.).An educator that would lie to a parent for any reason is a special education dragon, in my opinion.A few more characteristics are:1. They blame the child and/or the parent for the child’s disabilities and lack of educational progress (rather than blaming themselves for the child not learning).
2. They act as a gatekeeper to prevent children from receiving vital needed educational services (even when proven by an independent educational evaluation-IEE).
3. They intimidate, scream, manipulate the school team (and the parent) so that the parent gives up and goes away (I have seen this activity many times for my children and in my advocacy).
4. They retaliate against the child and the parent when the parent is advocating for their child (which is a protected activity under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act).If you are dealing with a special education dragon, here are a few tips to deal with them:1. Dragons can be overcome by assertive and persistent advocacy for as long as it takes for your child to receive an appropriate education!
2. Knowledge of federal and state special education and disability laws (IDEA 2004, ADAAA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act—and your states laws), and use of those laws in your advocacy, will go a long way in overcoming dragons.
3. Using a well-trained advocate to attend IEP meetings, can also help overcome these school personnel’s tactics.
4. Become familiar and willing to use the dispute resolution processes that are available to you (State complaints, Mediation, Due Process, OCR complaints).I have been dealing with special education dragons for a long time, and am amazed at their insistence that they are right, even when they are proven wrong. One time at a meeting I was frustrated with a school person who kept stating something over and over. I picked up my IDEA 2004 regulations, opened it up and read the section about the issue we were discussing and then preceded to say “There it is read-em-and-weep!” I would not suggest getting upset but they seemed to get it! Good luck—never give up fighting these dragons for the good of your child’s education!