A few weeks ago I did an interview with Peggy Bud, a special education consultant. A couple of things really struck me in the interview.
First, and this is not a new revelation, there is a disconnect between the reality of the law and the reality of available resources.
The other thing was Peggy’s suggestion of forming a Special Education PTA. Matthew is 19 now and we only have two more IEP’s left in our special education journey. Looking back, it’s one of those ideas that sound so simple that you wonder why every school district doesn’t have one.
Think about it
- A place to come together to support and be supported by other families who get what you’re going through
- A place to come together to ask questions and get information in an open and cooperative environment; where you can ask questions, anonymously if necessary
- A place where you can work collaboratively with administrators and other professionals to inform and educate Special Needs parents on the resources available and how to get them
- A place where those who came before you can give you a hand up
- A place where you can give a hand up to those coming behind you
We have usually enjoyed an excellent working relationship with Matthew’s IEP team but there were times when I felt like maybe there was information I was missing. Often when we asked questions about policies, procedures and law, we were guided to research resources. Instead of just getting a straightforward answer, I felt like I was researching for a doctoral thesis and having to sort through unfamiliar terms and legalese. I wonder if there were more services that could have been made available for Matthew but I wasn’t asking the right questions in the right way. Having a forum with other parents who may be able to help fill in the gaps, help find the best terminology to form the right questions, share resources that they had come across and then together work with administrators to educate parents would have been, as the commercial says – priceless.
A Special Ed PTA could take a lot of the stress off of parents of trying to figure everything out for themselves. It could be a truly wonderful solution for parents, educators and for our children.
So if you’re thinking that this sounds great but you don’t have one in your area, I strongly encourage you to consider banding together with other Special Needs Parents and forming your own. I did a little bit of research and here are some resources that I found:
- PTA.org Special ED PTA info
- Special Education Parent Teacher Organization Network
- Arlington Special Education PTA
- Creating a Special Education PTA
Many Special Ed PTAs have Facebook pages; check them out for ideas, too.
If you do form your own, please let me know how it goes and if there is anything else I can do to help.