I once was talking to a parent about strategy for a meeting, specifically what she wanted to bring up. She talked about how many kids in the school must also be suffering the way her child is. She was thinking about budgets and funds that could be better spent. She was worried the school would see her as selfish for just worrying about her kid. I asked her to drop the concern about appearing selfish. Or pushy. Advocating for her kid was advocating for all kids, because holding a school's feet to the fire can help all of the students. Her task at hand was limited to one child.
At a recent meeting, I needed to express that I do not think the school has the capability to do what the student in question needs. What a hard thing that is for everyone involved. Even the most caring, intelligent school staff has its limitations. As a classroom teacher, I was frequently frustrated about students who arrived in my upper elementary classroom with major, unaddressed learning issues. I couldn't help them. Other people who had been working with them couldn't help them. So I screamed. I nagged and pleaded. I didn't teach those kids what they needed, but I helped them get services. I only was able to do so because the school I worked in had or was able to access needed resources.
One student I remember learned to read because my school had an LD teacher who recruited a friend who was trained in a program that would work for her. Years later I was looking up former students and found she had gone to GMU. She made it from a fourth grader who couldn't sound out simple words to college. I will never apologize for being demanding when it comes to children who need help.
Don't go to IEP meetings alone! Bring me with you! Or a friend, neighbor or grandparent! Someone who can take notes for you and help you digest what happened afterward. Even if the school representatives are universally kind and child-focused, being outnumbered can be intimidating.
I have been reading up on IEPs lately, which is bringing up memories of how frequently parents are not fully included in the process. Not sure what you can expect from the school? Let's talk!