If you have an upcoming SST meeting you already know the key players in your child’s Student Support Team. It could include teachers, school psychologists, guidance counselors, speech-language therapists, occupational therapists, school nurses as well as the key administrators at your school. While you put your plan together for that first meeting, it pays to go A.P.E.
You’ve seen the grades, had the conferences, gathered all the reports put together by the school and outside health professionals. You’ll need to consider your child and note any changes in these categories:
- Grades and learning growth
- Behavior, specifically how it impedes learning
- Changes in circumstances that can effect how a student performs, both in and out of the classroom
- Overall health of your child
- First and foremost – take a deep breath and remember “this is not your fault”. The next few months may feel like a looking glass on your child, your parenting, your routines and how they help or hinder your child at school. Approach it all with self-love.
(From a teamLeLo parent: “From my perspective, this was the hardest part for me to accept. I had so much guilt after the divorce that I was certain that my ex and I brought this on. But the truth is, I can no more change these nuances that my child has than I can change the earth’s rotation. All I can do is the best I can, being their voice, and advocating for what’s healthy in the long run.”
- Think about what “modifications” can help your child succeed. To start your brainstorming session, the CoOp Schools of San Diego suggest this list of potential changes to the class environment that might help your child succeed:
Change of seating
Change of group
Buddy system/partner assignment
Use of a notebook for assignments
Visual aids for providing instruction
- Bring your LeLo records with you. Keeping detailed notes, emails, journal entries, examples of work and handwriting, and illustrations of your child’s processes. A photo of the inside of your child’s desk or how neat or not the child’s bedroom is kept can help put together the clues in properly assessing your child’s particular needs.
- Think about what strengths you child brings to the table. It maybe in his ability to solve puzzles or her care and concern for animals that can inspire the SST to creatively frame standardized learning into specialized and engaging content for your child.
It’s time for you to put on your advocacy hat and get down to business. Remember, even though you are your child’s first and foremost voice, you have to play nice with the SST. You are the CEO of your child’s education. You have assembled your team of experts, effective teachers, and support personnel. Now it’s time for you to manage your team and their out-of-the-box techniques. Come with a list of suggestions of things that work at home. If your son likes to take apart old appliances, encourage your teachers to “think like a boy” and let them get down and dirty with some “manipulatives“ first before getting to the written work. If you daughter has trouble sitting still at circle time, find some fidget jewelry that can keep her focused.
Remember this is SST meeting is for your child.
DON’T SIGN OR AGREE TO ANYTHING YOU AREN’T COMFORTABLE WITH.
At the end of the meeting politely thank everyone and ask for a photocopy of the notes from the meeting so that you can share them with your advocate and get back to the SST with your combined thoughts (or just so you can absorb them in your own time).
This is a negotiation. You are the CEO. You are in the power seat. GO A.P.E.!