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Being the Parent of a Child With Special Needs

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Describe the range of emotions associated with being the parent of a child with special needs. Select two emotional states and describe how you as a teacher would you work with a parent experiencing these emotions.

Parents who have children with disabilities go through a variety of emotions from grief about their child’s condition to the joy that any parent has when they bring a child into the world.  Two specific emotional states that teachers can help parents overcome are guilt and anxiety.

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  Rarely is a student’s condition the fault of a parent, so teachers can help them understand that.  Also teachers can do a great deal to ease parental anxiety by educating parents about their rights and doing everything within the teacher’s power to make sure the student gets a rigorous and rewarding educational experience.

Identify and describe three roles that a parent of a child who has a disability might undertake that are unlike the roles typically associated with parenting.

Three additional roles that parents with students with special needs might have to play are case manager, medical expert and advocate.  When parents are forced to assume responsibilities of a case manager, they are forced to juggle an unending sea of medical appointments, educational conferences and social services.   Many parents also must become medical experts who understand and can explain to teachers and other adults who work with their child the nuances of their condition.  Lastly, parents frequently find themselves in the position of advocate, which means they must navigate the complex disability laws to ensure their child is treated fairly and receives appropriate services.

Reese is a young girl with cerebral palsy. Her primary means of mobility is a manual wheelchair, though she is also able to take a few independent steps. Reese’s parents have recently separated and are in the process of divorcing. Reese, her mom, and two older siblings have temporarily relocated and are now living in the upstairs of her grandparents’ house. As a result of the move, Reese has transitioned to a new school. Although her mom is generally very involved with her child’s education, there are currently many stressors in her life. Describe at least two of the stressors, besides divorce, that Reese’s mom might be experiencing and explain how you think they might affect her time and involvement with the school.

One significant stressor in the Mom’s life would be a difficult living situation where she and her three children do not have adequate living space to carry out everyone’s daily obligations.  An even more significant stressor will be the transition to a new school.  It is always difficult for a child to change schools, but it is even more difficult for a student with special needs, because teachers and other support personnel must get to know the child and their individual needs.  In the time before teacher and the student know what to expect from each other, there are often initial conflicts.

Imagine you are a teacher in Reese’s new school. Describe three ideas you have for building a relationship with Reese’s family and how you would go about making the family feel welcome in your school.

1)      I would invite Reese’s mother and her three children in for a conference to brainstorm any concerns that they have and how the school might address them.  I think including the siblings would be important, because they offer a great deal of insight as a result of getting an inside view of how Reese is treated by peers and it might set a more relaxed and friendly tone.

2)      I would follow up this conference with weekly phone calls to Reese’s mom to see how she feels about her school experience.

3)      I would make sure to communicate any important information from the initial conference or subsequent phone conversations to other teachers that might work with Reese.

Imagine that you, as Reese’s new teacher, have just returned from a visit to Reese’s grandparents. During your home visit, Reese’s mother vented about her failed relationship with her husband and the reasons for their divorce. Now the teachers in the teachers’ lounge are pushing you for the juicy details. What is your responsibility in this situation and why?

Because the teacher conducted this home visit as a part of his/her work duties, it is the teacher’s legal (not to mention moral) responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of Reese’s family.  If I were in this situation I would remind my colleagues of this responsibility.


Cite this Being the Parent of a Child With Special Needs

Being the Parent of a Child With Special Needs. (2016, Oct 25). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/being-the-parent-of-a-child-with-special-needs/

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