From Emotions to Advocacy
The Special Education Survival Guide by Pam & Pete Wright
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Year in Review Series
Learning About Conflict
Conflict between parents and schools is normal and inevitable.
Beliefs are issues about which you feel strongly. Beliefs are based on emotions. Your beliefs affect your perceptions.
Perceptions are your thoughts about an issue or problem. When you disagree with your spouse about who is responsible for housework or how your earnings should be spent, you and your spouse have different perceptions and opinions about these issues.
Interests are your needs, desires,
concerns, and fears. Our strongest interests involve basic human needs-security,
recognition, and control over ones life.
Your goal is to build a healthy working
relationship with the school. If you build a working relationship with
the school, it will be easier to negotiate for special education services
Real Issues: Expense and Control
If you look closely at disputes between parents and schools, you will find that most disputes are actually about expense and control. Most special education disputes fall into four categories.
to Provide an Appropriate Education
to Implement the IEP
You Resolve Problems by Negotiating
How do you resolve work schedule problems with your co-workers? You negotiate. How do you resolve financial problems with your partner? You negotiate. How do you resolve problems with your school? You negotiate.
When you negotiate, you put yourself in the shoes of the other side and answer questions like these:
Four Deadly Sins for Negotiators
1. Blaming and shaming
2. Criticizing and finding fault
3. Sarcasm, scorn and ridicule
4. Judging, patronizing and bullying
Five Golden Rules for Negotiators
2. Ask 5 Ws + H + E questions to clarify the perspective and position of the other side.
3. Storytelling reduces resistance. Make requests by telling the childs story.
4. Make situations informal. Meet in different places. If things are tense, bring food that smells good.
5. Treat other people with respect.
If you have a dispute with the school,
you have two goals: to resolve the issue and to protect the parent-school
If you have a problem with school staff,
remind yourself that you are dealing with people. People are emotional.
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