School meetings have literally left me with PTSD due to the trauma I have had fighting just to obtain my son’s right to an education; and even though we are now through the other side and have had had some great sets of school teams to work with him, I still have to take a step back when I disagree with something that is said in an IEP meeting to make sure I’m not reacting from a past trauma instead of reacting to what is actually going on.
Parents of children in General Education classes don’t usually have to fight for their kids to get a simple education. They might have situations that come up about assignments that they feel are inappropriate, bullying, and etc. And I don’t say this to take away from these things, because these things are important too. Parents of special needs children are just operating at a whole other level.
We are fighting for our kids to actually be taught reading, writing and math. Because there are people out there who think our children aren’t worth teaching. (The Supreme Court’s ruling this week should help change that. If I drank alcohol I would be breaking out the champagne over this ruling.)
We are fighting so our kids aren’t just being passed from one grade to another. (This was happening to one of my sisters.)
Our kids have “extra”school subjects like social skills, and speech so that they can better access the education they need. We are fighting so our child actually receives these services. (Despite being on their Individualized Education Plan, which is a legal document and therefore legally mandated, our school last year was not providing Speech therapy to a large number of kids.)
We are fighting so that our kids are included on field trips and with the proper medical equipment and supervision necessary so that they can safely go. (That was our fight this year.)
We fight so that our kids are allowed to enroll in Charter schools and special programs that other General Education students do. (This was a very bitter battle for us a couple years ago.) As a Special Education Director said recently, “All children are General Education students. Some of them also happen to be Special Education students.”
All this, is exhausting. All this, is why we advocate. All this, is why we fight. Our kids ARE worth it and have something to contribute to our world. They deserve to be allowed to be educated and to reach their highest potential just like anyone else.