For parents of children with special education needs, navigating the school system can be tricky at first. There is so much to know about the processes involved in setting up a child for success. There’s a lot going on behind the scenes that parents cannot control, but there are also many things that parents can do to ensure that their children are set up with the services they need.

Know your rights. Among other rights you have, you have the right to 

  • View your child’s school file at any time
  • Request copies of items in that file (called the Ontario School Record) or remove things from it
  • Share or not share any reports (or even parts of reports) you have received from professionals
  • Attend all meetings scheduled by the school where your child is discussed
  • Disagree with recommendations or approaches the school is taking in addressing your child’s needs
  • Escalate concerns you have through the proper channels
  • Get second opinions to help advocate for your family
  • Receive regular communication about how your child is doing
  • Advocate, advocate, advocate!

There are some important responsibilities, as well, such as

  • Keeping an organized binder of all documentation related to your child
  • Communicating regularly with school staff (even if you find that you are having to initiate the communication)
  • Attending all meetings where staff and professionals are talking about your child
  • Listening – with an open mind – to the ideas and suggestions that others make to help your child succeed
  • At home, following through with strategies used at school (if you agree with them, of course!)
  • Advocate, advocate, advocate!

Check out this link. It provides a lot of detailed information about what goes on when working with the school system. Although it is provided by Autism Ontario, the information given applies in exactly the same way to ANY child with a special need or accommodation or a child receiving special education or professional services.

As always, you also have the right to seek private professional services to help meet your child’s needs, including Speech and Language Services. You can refer your child here.

Best of luck this school year!

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