Special Education: Ask the Right Questions

I met today with Special Education Advocate, Linda Talbert, who also specializes in transition planning. Our son has been successful in school, but we know that the next few years, when things like college, career and independence are looming large on the horizon, that getting decent grades is not enough. There are many, many skill sets required for a successfully independent life that are not taught in school and are very difficult for the individual with a learning disability to acquire. Not impossible, but challenging.
FocusedToday I learned that there are many questions we should be asking about how the goals on our child’s IEP (Individualized Education Plan) are designed to truly help him reach his goals of a successful transition to college and independence. It appears that there may be a mismatch between the goals that are being set and the skills that will be required for success in college.

Linda told me a story about Disney World employees…. that they are trained not to offer the specials that are available, but to provide them if someone asks for them. And suddenly, I understood a whole new dimension of things that are likely going on during the PPT (Planning and Placement Team) meetings at school. The school team may be aware of programs available to our child that would be a great benefit to him, but because of the pressures of budget, they are instructed not to offer, but only to provide if asked.

This puts a whole new spin on “Ask, and it shall be given unto you.” It also means that we have to learn the right questions to ask. Learn to ask for the programs that will ultimately help our son to reach his goals. As we learn what those questions are, I will post what I find here. I hope that our journey will help you with yours.

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