What Does a Blind Student's Educational Team Do?
With so many different kinds of professionals who may be on your child's educational team, the basis of the team is collaboration: Each team member contributes his or her expertise to the group process of educating your child. Team members serve as resources for each other and especially for you. Your child's educational team is responsible for
- assessing his strengths and needs
- setting goals for his education on the basis of these assessments
- providing the services to help him meet those goals
Your child's IFSP or IEP is the product of the team's efforts and is intended to guide his educational path.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates the minimum frequency with which the team needs to meet, conduct assessments, and review your child's IFSP or IEP. The team is required to notify you when meetings are held and to arrange to hold them at times convenient to you.
A good working relationship and communication among members is key to the collaboration that will best serve you child. To facilitate good communication, consider the following suggestions:
- Ask at the start of team meetings for each person to identify himself or herself and clarify his or her role.
- Ask all team members to provide their contact information for you and others.
- Share copies of any paperwork with all team members so each person has access to the same information.
- Keep documentation so if a question arises you have the information available.
- Ask questions and ask for explanations of unfamiliar terms.
- Bring another person to team meetings for support and to take notes if it will help you feel more secure. Someone who knows your child well, another parent with a similar situation, or a representative from a parent's group might be helpful.
- Keep in touch with team members between meetings as well, especially the classroom teacher and the teacher of students with visual impairments, so you are aware of your child's progress and any issues that arise prior to the next meeting.
You have equal membership on your child's team, so don't be afraid to speak up and share your thoughts and experiences.