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The Special Education Resolution Center of OSU (SERC) has been collaborating with the Oklahoma State Department of Education for over 10 years to help families and school district resolve conflicts at the earliest stage possible. SERC provides services for children from birth to 3 in SoonerStart and for students 3 through 21 in public schools.
What Does SERC provide to schools, SoonerStart sites and families at no cost…?
Engaging Parents In Productive Partnerships
Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (2015).
There are things we can do to communicate more effectively when disagreements occur, opinions diverge and strong emotions are present. The following strategies can go a long way toward resolving disagreements, improving relationships and producing positive outcomes for students with disabilities:
(Each topic will be fully discussed in a newsletter this year!)
Experience teaches us that in most failed relationships, people believe they were not treated with respect and their perspective was not heard and understood. Central to all of our important relationships is the experience that we are being heard, that our opinions are valued, and that we are regarded with interest and appreciation. Without these relational cornerstones, even the most skillful communication risks being misunderstood.
Recognizing and acknowledging our differences in appropriate ways creates a welcoming atmosphere for everyone whose involvement is crucial to a student’s educational success. When our own cultural, linguistic, or socio-economic background differs from that of a parent or colleague, interactions may produce unexpected results. Our most positively intended actions may produce negative reactions. Seeking additional information and guidance from the other person can help us connect so everyone feels included as a valued and important member of the educational team. The assistance of a cultural liaison or someone who can help bridge cultural gaps can also be invaluable.
Dispute Resolution and Conflict Prevention
Disagreements or conflicts relating to special education and related services can develop between families and schools, so the IDEA requires states to offer four processes to help such disputes: written state complaints, mediation, due process complaints and resolution meetings associated with due process. Oklahoma, as many other states, has developed IEP facilitation as another process to help schools and families resolve disputes at early stages. Although these processes are available, school administrators and staff should work collaboratively with parents to prevent disputes. And when disputes do arise, school administrations and staff should work with parents to resolve differences as early and cooperatively as possible. Building and maintain strong school-family relationships is better for everyone involved, especially students.
When schools are trying to assess how to improve their own practices, the Dispute Resolution and Conflict Prevention Self-assessment helps identify areas that can be improved as compared to best practices.
Did you know that students can often benefit from using technology (low- and high-tech) in the classroom - especially students with disabilities who struggle with various classroom tasks?!
Who helps figure out what these students need to succeed?
It's the educators, related service providers, and even administrators in the schools who sit on the IEP Team!
Do you feel unqualified to determine what a student might need to help them with reading, communicating, hearing, positioning, etc.? That's ok!
The State Department of Education contracts with ABLE Tech and they can help you to build capacity for your district!
Schools who have professionals attend ABLE Tech's free assistive technology trainings develop the skills needed to match students with needed technology solutions as well as ways to fund the technology. As school professionals develop the skills, ABLE Tech is there to help with specific, one-on-one consultations for students.
For more information, contact Oklahoma ABLE Tech at: 405.744.9748, 800.257.1705 (toll-free), or email: firstname.lastname@example.org, To learn more about – or to sign up for – a free assistive technology training, click here: AT Support Team Training.
To request a consultation, click here: ABLETech_AT-Consultations
To explore the law regarding the provision of assistive devices and services as set forth by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), download and read the Technical Assistance Document, Assistive Technology for Children and Youth with Disabilities IDEA Part B.
To explore assistive technology solutions on your own, visit ABLE Tech’s AT Discovery pages here: AT-Discovery_2017.
The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) is dedicated to improving results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities ages birth through 21 by providing leadership and financial support to assist states and local districts.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA) authorizes formula grants to states and discretionary grants to institutions of higher education and other non-profit organizations to support research, demonstrations, technical assistance and dissemination, technology and personnel development and parent-training and information centers.
OSEP Policy Letters provide information, guidance and clarification regarding implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) through two types of issuances: OSEP Memos and Dear Colleague Letters. Below is the link to the policy letters on line and a listing of the last 11 guidance documents issues and one on dispute resolution.
The link below will take you to guidance issued since 2001.
When schools and families talk about children with Learning Disabilities – a lot can be lost in translation by the language people use. Schools address issues with children regarding learning disabilities and they have a specific language for that discussion. Parents will often interject other types of language descriptors that confuse teams who are taught to use another language. Something so simple creates a lot of mistrust and misunderstanding that is not helpful for effective communication.
The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) which is an agency over the OSEP office, sent out a Dear Colleague Letter in October 2015 to try and bridge the gap of the use of different terminology. The problem with terminology continues to create issues for communication so national parent and education groups have issued a Guide to help educators and parents talk about learning disabilities.
The 12 national participating groups were the National Center for Learning Disabilities, AIM Institute for Learning and Research, CASE, Council for Exceptional Children, Council for Learning Disabilities, Division for Learning Disabilities of the Council for Exceptional Children, Eye to Eye, Learning Disabilities Association of America, National Association of School Psychologist, National Association of State Directors of Special Education, Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center, and Understood.
Archived Webinar - Practical Strategies for Helping Parents in Conflict
From the Oklahoma ABLE Tech:
ABLE Tech Trainings - ABLE Tech's In-Person AT Training Workshops