A Compromise You Can Both Live With
Parents of struggling children often find themselves at odds with their mates. Frequently one is quicker to act than the other. One parent may feel the other is “in denial.” Another parent may feel the other is “overreacting.” But usually they both agree on one thing: they are right and their mate is wrong. Spotting issues at an early stage in your child’s education will greatly enhance the chances of your child’s ultimate educational success. And let’s face it, children do develop at different rates and often a child will be able to overcome their initial struggles with just a little added support. What I would tell the proactive parent is this: if you are seeing these issues early in your child’s schooling, try to overcome the worry of having to do something immediately. Doing what’s right by your child is more important than anything, and that sometimes means taking the time to figure out what he or she really needs before acting. Communicating your concerns with your child’s teachers is essential.
Now, back to the parent who is “in denial.” Yes, it’s true. Many children will grow out of the early struggles they have in school; especially if these are identified early on. But here’s the thing: Sometimes the struggles only get worse. Often the gap you see between your child and his peers in 1st grade gets wider as the academic expectations on all students increases. And while your child may only be a little behind in reading now, that gap may widen to 1 or 2 years by the time she is in 4th grade. And should these academic gaps persist, you will want to be prepared to act as quickly as possible. What I propose, and what I hope will also help with the inevitable marital strife associated with these issues, is to have a consultation with a Special Education Attorney early in the process. The fact is, retaining a Special Education Attorney is expensive. However, a consultation is a fraction of the price and can save you time, money, and (most importantly) stress in the long run.
I offer a 15-30 minute phone intake followed by a 2 hour consultation. On the phone call you will tell me your child’s history and the concerns you have. The subsequent consultation will address those concerns as well as any others you bring up. Many parents do not know what support and services their children are entitled to. At our meeting we will discuss what is available and what strategies to use to best address your concerns. At a minimum, I promise you will learn a lot and feel empowered to better help your child. I will also guide you through what you should be doing to ensure that, should you eventually need to seek legal counsel, you will be well prepared. That fight will be made much easier if you lay the groundwork now.
But above all, be kind to each other. Have a glass of wine together. No one ever said raising children would be easy.