Saturday, November 27, 2010

How do I get my child's teacher to do what she is supposed to?

Ms. Dorothy -
______'s teacher is required to use a microphone to compensate for _____'s hearing loss. Either the teacher won’t use it because she doesn't feel like it, she uses it but without the volume even on, or she claims for weeks that it is broken. Then she scolds ______ for not listening when ______ can't even HEAR her. How do I get this teacher to comply with my child's IEP and not make life hell for him?
- Mom of a Hearing Impaired Student

I am so sorry that your son is going through such a rough year in school! He is lucky to have you on his team because this can be corrected.

First of all, when you attend a Special Education staffing meeting, they are required to provide you with your parental legal rights. Refer to this often, and never be afraid to use your rights to support your son!
You are his best advocate and the first line of defense against a system not designed for the exceptions among us.

Have your son approach the teacher to tell her that he can't hear her. They could set up a signal between them so that he doesn't have to disrupt the class. This way he can indicate that he is not able to hear what she is saying well enough to understand her any time it happens.

If this is hard for him, make an appointment to meet with her and be there to help him talk about his struggle. Make a plan for him to keep a journal of every time he needs more volume and track that he signaled for it and if he got it.

If you don't see progress in this area quickly enough, if the microphone is not repaired, or if the teacher is not comfortable with the volume level he needs, request another meeting and ask for a representative from the Special Ed team to be present. Use the journal to document that you made an effort to correct the situation, but that he is still having trouble. Let the Special Ed team intervene on his behalf to ensure that his needs are being met.

Fight for his rights when you suspect they are not being addressed.

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