What are the issues?
Sometimes when parents of students with significant or complex disabilities talk about their desire for their sons or daughters to be an active member of their school, or to be taught to read, or take part in academic or extracurricular activities, school staff becomes uncomfortable. They may not know how to teach your child, may be concerned that teachers in the school won’t be willing or able to modify instruction, or may believe your child cannot succeed. It’s not necessary for everyone on your child’s IEP team to share your dreams and concerns. However, it is necessary for them to respect those dreams and concerns. Every child’s IEP should reflect high expectations by setting ambitious goals and providing the services that are designed to help children achieve those goals.
Here are possible responses:
“Our vision for Maria is that she have every possible opportunity to learn all she can and be as independent as she can be. She has dreams for her future and we intend to help her reach for those dreams. I expect Maria’s IEP team to respect our dreams and vision for the future and to help her learn as much as she can and develop as many skills as she can.”
“It is not realistic to give up high expectations for Maria and accept less opportunities for her to learn and grow with the other children in her school and community simply because she has a severe disability.”