Parent Stress Related to Obtaining Appropriate Education for their Children

Being a parent of a child with special needs can be stressful, and ensuring they are getting an appropriate education can be a major trigger of stress.

A parent of a special needs child gets a note in the mail indicating that their child’s therapies at school are changing, and the school has adjusted the schedule to meet the child’s needs. The note continues to read that the child’s progress has indicated “his progress has been significant and the same level of service may no longer be necessary.” The first thing that goes through the parent’s mind is “Wait that is not what we agreed upon in the IEP, how are the therapies changing, how is the school making that determination and decision without me?” At this point the parent’s anxiety level is rising, as she thinks “Now what do I need to do, do I need to contact my advocate again, do I need an attorney this time, or maybe they are right.” At times ensuring your child’s educational needs are met can be chaotic and anxiety provoking.

To better understand the origin of how some of these feelings are developed; let’s take a closer look at two different but common ways children with special needs obtain special education services.  In these examples, we will pay attention to the stress related to different parts of the process.

Stress related to the education system is one of the biggest stressors for parents of children with special needs concerns such as “Will he learn to read like the other children,” and “My daughter needs assistance with staying on task, she simply can’t sit still.” In some cases, special needs children obtain assistance from the very beginning. For parents of these children, the watch worried as their child either struggles with milestones or shows progress and inexplicably regresses back and loses abilities they once had. For the other children whose disability is not as obvious, parents experience an extensive amount of frustration. Common statements such as “If he simply followed directions he would be fine,” “Ms. Smith, you need to be more consistent with punishments because he is out of control,” and “Mrs. Johnson you should put him on medication because he behavior is too disruptive.” Many parents have to fight to obtain accommodations and when they do feel they have arrived at a solution to their child’s needs they are terrified their services will be decreased or disappear.

Whether you are unsure your child is receiving the appropriate accommodations, need assistance with advocating, and or would benefit from having an experiences educator/advocate/clinician in your corner. I can help; I work closely with parents to help them understand advocating strategies, how to interpret assessments, as well as how to gather the needed information to support their requests for services. Together we can improve your child’s chances of getting what they need!

For many parents when they are assured that their child is getting the appropriate services it puts their mind at ease and they feel significantly less stress and relief. Contact us and we can meet for a consultation.

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