From Emotions to Advocacy
The Special Education Survival Guide by Pam & Pete Wright
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Year in Review Series
What Triggers a Parent-School Crisis?
Every crisis is triggered by a precipitating event. Here are common events that trigger crises and requests for help from parents. The school:
Three factors increase the odds of a crisis:
The Last Straw
Every crisis is triggered by a precipitating event -- the last straw. Parents usually remember the last straw because it was emotionally significant. Perhaps the crisis forced the parent to face the reality of the childs problems. Instead of improving, the childs problems got worse.
At the beginning of a crisis, you are likely to feel overwhelmed. You dont know what to do. You know that time is running out. This creates a sense of urgency, and a crisis is born.
Feelings of Betrayal
If you are like most parents, you trusted the advice and recommendations you received from school staff.
What happens if you learn that your child has fallen further behind in the special education program that was recommended and provided by these school personnel?
From your perspective, the schools program damaged your child. Under these circumstances, feelings of anger and betrayal are nearly inevitable.
Parents are not alone with feelings of betrayal. When a child's parents request a due process hearing, the school staff who were working with the child often feel betrayed too.
"We worked so hard to help that child - we didn't think the parents would sue us!"
In a crisis, you will feel frightened, confused, guilty, angry, and helpless. Your common sense and good judgment vanish.
What should you do? In a crisis, your first response is likely to be a big mistake!
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