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ERIC Number: ED620263
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2022-Feb
Pages: 32
Abstractor: ERIC
Building Parent/Professional Partnership through Communication. Revised
Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities
Many parents feel intimidated when talking with special education professionals. There is much in our society which encourages us to look at professionals and to accept what they say without question. However, that does not mean you should be intimidated. The discussion is about your child and you know your child better than anyone, giving you the right to help design his/her educational program. Some guidelines for successful interaction with school personnel are: (1) Each time you contact the school, remind yourself ahead of time that you are important and have a right to be involved; (2) Prepare for meetings. Know ahead of time the important points you want to make. Make a list to take with you; (3) If possible, take someone with you who can take notes, can help you make a point, or who will provide moral support; (4) When you do not understand something, ask for clarification; (5) Learn to communicate assertively, rather than passively or aggressively; (6) At meetings, be direct with others. Look at people when you talk to them. Take notes. Sit at the table with the other participants, leaning forward in your chair to show interest, not back in your chair as an observer; (7) If you do not get to say everything you wanted to say, don't be hard on yourself. Assertive communication develops with practice. Congratulate yourself for taking the first steps; (8) Stand up for your rights and those of your child. However, sometimes it is necessary to compromise. For most people, deciding when to compromise can be difficult. Think carefully about your priorities for your child. Which ones are most important? Which are you willing to negotiate? (9) When you have a serious concern, discuss it first with the person directly involved. If that does not produce results, then go to someone with more authority. You will help your own credibility by giving the person involved a chance to make changes before going to a supervisor; and (10) Let the school hear from you when you are pleased with their actions, not just when there is a problem. We all appreciate positive feedback and you will create a "reservoir of good will" which will help you if problems should arise. [For the 2015 revision, see ED585103.]
Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities. 165 West Center Street Suite 302, Marion, OH 43302. Tel: 800-374-2806; Fax: 740-383-6421; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom
Education Level: N/A
Audience: Parents
Language: English
Sponsor: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) (ED); Ohio Department of Education, Office for Early Learning and School Readiness; Ohio Department of Education, Office for Exceptional Children
Authoring Institution: Ohio Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities (OCECD)
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Individuals with Disabilities Education Act
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A