In the second Surviving Kindergarten blog, I talked about my concerns over Cooper's seat in his classroom. While the rest of the class sits at round tables together, Cooper sits in a desk.

I also shared that my mother, an assistant to severe and profound special needs teacher, as well as the teacher she works with, expressed serious concerns when I shared this with them. Both of them advised me to take another look at my son's IEP determination that was conducted last year and to read the handbook of rights.

This whole situation has made me realize how important it is to know both my son's rights and my rights as a parent of a child in a special education program.

Example: If my son's separate seating arrangement is a part of a behavior plan developed by his teachers, I should have been contacted about and asked to give written approval before this plan was set into motion. As the parent, you are to be included in any and all determinations about your child and his education experience.

Though it may not seem like a big deal to some, the fact that I wasn't told about my son's seating arrangement is a problem for me. I probably wouldn't have learned about as soon as I did had I not shown up to his classroom one morning a couple of weeks ago. Because of my son's special circumstances, I feel I should be included in even the smallest decisions made.

According to the rights dictated in the special education handbook I received, I'm exactly right. I also have the right to challenge any decision made by the staff concerning methods used with my child.

Now, I don't like confrontation. I hate “stirring the pot” so to speak, and when it comes to my child, I'm a bit overprotective and dramatic. But how am I supposed to voice my concern about a method being implemented with my child if I know nothing that's going on?

If your child is in a special education program, I strongly advise you to read your handbook of rights, and read it carefully. Don't let anyone dictate how your child will be handled in school. Though these teachers and therapists are experts in their fields, you are the expert on your child.

It's important that you know how much say you have when it comes to developing your child's IEP. Knowing your rights and those of your child's rights means you are aware of every option you have to make sure your child is receiving the absolute best options for their growth and development.

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