Mapping Your Child's Educational Path

This Sunday, February 9, I'll be giving a presentation with another parent at the Developmental Differences Resource Fair sponsored by the Neighborhood Parents Network. We will discuss the types of schools that are available, but our focus will be on helping parents to assess educational environments in view of their goals and priorities. Some questions to help get you started as you plan visits to potential schools are:

Goals—Do you want to develop strong academic skills? Are improved communication skills a must-have? Improved behavioral regulation? Social inclusion?

Priorities—Religious environment? Warm and Fuzzy? Academic? Small class size? Diverse student body? Support services? Access to teachers? Appropriately trained staff? Legal obligation to follow an IEP? Stay within a budget?

Regardless of your final decision (at least for now; often we need to reevaluate our placement preferences), please remember these key points!

  1. You will have to be an “involved” parent, regardless of your educational choice.
  2. Don’t expect your child’s teacher to always know best practices. A curious, engaged teacher will be willing to learn with and from you.
  3. Your child’s needs will change. At different points during development, s/he will need more, less, or different support.
  4. Keep your expectations manageable but HIGH. If you do not convey your high expectations to the educators, they will be less likely to appreciate your child’s potential.

I hope to see you at the Resource Fair! It will be held at Gordon Tech, 3633 N California Ave, Chicago from 10:00-2:00.