ldickey's picture

Parents with special needs children


My name is Laura Dickey and I am a Sophomore in college. I am an education major and I am taking a special education class. In chapter 4 of our textbook it talks about family relationships and disabilities and the relationship between the teacher and the parent. I was wondering if someone would reflect on theses issues for me to discuss in class.

Thank You,

Laura Dickey 

concerned mom's picture
concerned mom

Hi Laura,
As a parent of a child in spec ed, I have to say it's not easy. We take each day as it comes. There are days when it definitely takes a toll on our family. We also have had conflicts w/ other family members/friends when it comes to behavioral issues w/ our son. So it can be tough. On the other hand, we have seen our son grow and progress so much over time, that we cldn't be any more proud of him. He tries so hard, and that's all we can ask for. Our son's a great kid, and I wldn't trade him for anything.
Along w/ all the stress and concern that comes w/ having a special needs child, there are also educational issues. My son works hard in school, but he struggles. His teachers are very helpful and supportive, and we are greatful for that. I have to say, overall we have a good relationship w/ my son's teachers and therapists. They are caring individuals who really have made a significant difference in my son's life.
I hope my response helps you. Good luck w/ your class!

ziggy's picture


I am an education assistant in a high school special needs class and have also worked the same at elementary level.

Here are some of the issues that have come up in our class over the years:

What is our role when a special needs student dresses in clothes that don't fit? clothes are too tight, pants too short. What if family doesn't see this as an issue? When do we keep pressing, when do we back off?

What is our response when families have religious views and are opposed to school/class activities regarding dances, movies, someone may be wearing makeup in the class, etc. (Yes, we have those issues)

How do we respond and relate issues of public masturbation to family of the special needs student? How do we address the issues with the student in a respectful, sensitive way?

How do we respond when students take inaccurate information home that could cause us liabilities - and the parents believe them. On the other hand - how do we respond to parents who (in front of staff) insist that their child lie to staff in order to support their religious views. (We have had to accept that a parent believes as they do and ask them what they feel is best for their child at that point in time - and then support their decision.) Tricky.

How do we assist students with personal hygiene when family feels they should do it on their own - but it is obvious they need assistance/guidance.

In the mainstream world we would probably say - let live and let learn - however in the special needs world these are important issues to be addressed in order for each student to live to their fullest.

How do staff and parents relate when there are strong differences in views with least affect on the student?

Hope this gives you some ideas :)... ziggy