What to Do When a Teacher Isn’t Supportive of a Student’s Needs
Most teachers are willing to bend over backwards to ensure your child's success: They will follow your child's IEP to the letter, offer extra assistance, and be the positive support that your child needs to be successful in the classroom. But what happens when you encounter teacher support that isn't sufficient? Here's some advice for working with a teacher to ensure that they keep the best interests of your child at heart.
Teachers and Students with Learning Differences Need Open, Honest Communication
If you feel that certain procedures are not being followed, your first reaction needs to be opening the lines of communication. Going into the school ablaze with fury will not be productive for anyone involved. Sometimes a teacher is not willfully ignoring your child's needs, but is simply unfamiliar with them. For example, many teachers have limited experience with auditory processing disorder, and would need extra direction and information about how your child internalizes information. Positive and direct conversations are the best tool to ensure your child's needs are being met.
As your child gets older, they will likely see multiple teachers a day. Speak with each of your child's teachers and reinforce the ways that your child needs specialized instruction. Help your child become more than just another face in the crowd.
Meet With the Special Education Teacher
If your child is in a general education setting, they will also have a grade level or classroom special education teacher. Meet with the special education teacher and discuss your concerns about the general education teacher's practices. This will help the special education teacher keep a closer eye, not just on your child, but also on the classroom instruction. These teachers are specially trained to know and understand the best way to teach to your child's learning difference, and are an invaluable resource.
Speak With the School's Director of Special Education
If you have made attempts to speak with the classroom or special education teacher and still feel that your child's needs are not being met, take the issue higher up the chain of command. Your child has a legal right through their IEP or 504 plan to receive certain accommodations; if they are not, the school is in clear violation of your child's rights. Do not be afraid to speak with administration and outline the multiple attempts you have made if you truly feel that your child's needs are not being met.
You are your child's most powerful advocate. By keeping communication open, honest, and productive, you can receive the best help from a teacher.