Sound Advice

Counsel & Criticism

Being a parent of a studenteligible for special education
services requires parents to havea great understanding of thespecial education process. Theunfamiliarity and novelty cancause extreme emotional turmoilfor families. However, challengesare made to be conquered!

Preparing for Admission,Review and Dismissal (ARD)
meetings beforehand will helpyou manage the stress of navigatingthe special education journey.

Before the meeting:
Take steps to gain control.Ask for the data supportingthe school’s recommendationsand bring your
data to be consideredby the ARD committeemembers. This will giveyou some control of themeeting by requiring thatall decisions made aredata-driven.
Give yourself time toprocess your emotions.
Request a full explanationof your child’s disabilityand its characteristics. Bydoing so, you will have hadtime to emotionally processthis information andwill be less likely to makean emotional decision.
Don’t be a stranger. Beinga part of the school’s communitywill make you feelmore at ease with the
individuals serving onyour child’s IndividualizedEducation Program (IEP)committee. As a result, whenan ARD meeting is held youwill not feel like a stranger,but an active participant inyour child’s education.
Remember, no one isperfect!

Dr. Akweta Hickman is theexecutive director of special educationat DeSoto IndependentSchool District.