In basketball, the full court press is a thing of beauty.Â The press is a defensive formation in which the team will apply man-to-man or zone coverage to either block the inbounds pass or to trap the offense in back or midcourt.Â It takes determination on the part of the pressing team to initiate this strategy.Â However, when it is done well, the press can lead to quick turnovers, putting the team far ahead of its opponent.Â
Similarly, many parents of children with disabilities experience the educational version of a full court press when they attend their childrenâ€™s ARD/IEP meeting.Â The committee comprised of educational professionals and administrators attempts to persuasively inform parents of its proposed plans.Â When parents indicate their disagreement with a projected course of action, however, the committee bands together to convince parents of the rightness of the proposal, regardless of whether or not the parents had a legitimate reason for concern.
Of course, many educational professionals and administrators have also been on the receiving end of the press as well.Â On occasion, parents arrive with advocates or lawyers.Â They push for evaluations, programming, modifications, and accommodations.Â Fearing repercussions and consequences if parents do not have their requests met, many ARD/IEP committees sign off in agreement, regardless of whether or not the parentsâ€™ proposal is educationally appropriate.Â
Surprisingly, though, it doesnâ€™t need to be this way.
Rather than press one another back and forth, what if ARD/IEP committees were determined to collaborate?Â
Bringing in the knowledge and expertise that parents possess not only enhances student learning, but it fosters an environment in which communication and collaboration become the norm.Â In order to collaborate effectively, though, educational professionals and parents must first understand one anotherâ€™s perspectives and realities.Â Parents need to understand the roles of all professionals involved in their childâ€™s education, the programming options available to them, and the ways in which individual classrooms in the continuum of services offered meet studentsâ€™ needs.
Educational professionals also need to understand parentsâ€™ experiences in living with a child with a disability while simultaneously discovering what interventions have already been attempted.Â Professionals must also be ever cognizant of the critical role the school has in familiesâ€™ lives, especially for those living with a disability.Â Through communication, ARD/IEP meetings then do not need to be a matter of which side can press harder.Â Instead, they can serve as a platform for a collaborative effort between parents and professionals towards building positive, effective educational programming.Â
Â Agree? Disagree? What are your thoughts about this issue? Drop a comment below and share your opinionâ€¦