After reading hundreds of 504s, IEPs and educational psychological evaluations and personally participating in dozens of planning meetings at the school level- despite the participants’ best interests – the accommodations students receive are rarely as personalized and effective as intended.
Mental health professionals, including school psychologists, are not educators. They know what children need, but not always how teachers and schools can provide it. Parents know their children well and have strong instincts about what they need in order to learn. Educators know their classroom and want to support everyone in it. However, these groups have neither the time nor the shared language to collaborate effectively.
BRIDGING THE DIVIDE
When we meet with parents, we help them learn to communicate their children’s needs using language that makes sense to school personnel and teach them about the mechanisms that schools have to give children the free and appropriate education (FAPE) they promise.
Consultations include the following:
- Full review of any documentation that parents can provide including, but not limited to, current IEPs, 504s and evaluations, report cards, and notes from teachers.
- Explanation of special education terminology and services that are available.
- Discussion of the goals you have for your child and how schools can truly support those goals
- Proposal of specific accommodations to bring up at Committee on Special Education (CSE) meeting.
- Advice about next steps
- Written summary of all of the above which you can refer to when meeting with your child’s school
Your child would benefit from an Accommodations Consultation if…
- …they have a recent diagnosis, and you are just beginning the process of understanding how to get accommodations at school.
- …they have a 504 or an IEP that you would describe as “standard”, and you’re not sure how to advocate for it to be more personalized.
- …you have a sense of what kind of teaching or support would make a difference for your child, but you are unsure how to see those ideas implemented.
- …they are getting services or supports that haven’t lead to them thriving.
- …they have supportive teachers who are clearly interested in collaborating with you, and you haven’t figured out how to capitalize on that opportunity.
Ready to take the next step?
Case Studies of Accommodations Consultations
As you read about the three students below, you will notice that all of our consultations seek to arm you with knowledge and options. Here’s how we do it.
- Prepare for multiple support structures: Because we can’t know prior to a meeting with the district what services they might offer, we prepare you with ideas about how to help your child thrive in any setting that you believe might be appropriate for them.
- Give the school options: We know that no two schools are the same, so it’s important to approach an IEP meeting with a real understanding of your child’s needs and with flexibility about how they can be met.
- Assume good intentions: It’s likewise our goal to help your school understand why your child needs the accommodations you ask for, and our reports provide language to that effect that teachers and administrators will understand.
- Arm you with knowledge: We give you full verbal explanations of any processes that we recommend for your child during a consultation and reinforce that explanation in writing when we send our report.