PIC: Advancing Effective Parent Engagement in Education

Any parent who has expectations for their child who wants what’s best for their child is an advocate. What they sometimes are lacking are the skills to be an effective advocate. A parent can’t be involved if they don’t have the knowledge, especially when you’re talking about the the special education process. It’s very intimidating These center’s were created as part of the law so that families can make sure their children receive the education and services they need to develop and to advance academically and functionally. The Parent Information Center is really the only organization in the state that has the primary focus of advocating for children with disabilities in the school system and helping the parents be part of that process.

A parent calls us and is usually upset about something. You know they’re upset by the fact that the child has been diagnosed with the disability and that’s very difficult. to accept.

They they may be upset because the individualized education program that the school the program the school was proposing is not being implemented or it’s not appropriate. Every case is different every scenario is different so you may have parents who call because their child is experiencing a behavior issue. You may have a parent who, it’s now march and they’ve received a notification that their child is in danger being retained and so they are unsure how to best support their their student. Very often there’s a lot of anger and we have to work through the anger and then help them solve the problems that they’re faced with and I think we do a lot of problem solving There was a particular family who their student was just recently diagnosed as having a an intellectual disability. He had been experiencing some behavior problems in the school. He struggled really bad in school.

Day-to-day work, the daily work, the interaction with you know other students, sometimes interaction with the teachers, he really was starting to get to the mode where he didn’t care any longer. The school was looking to remove him to an alternative setting and they felt that the setting that was being proposed was not the best. After this, after we really started moving forward started doing different things and investigating, we were able to finally get the school district in the school board’s to agree to place our son into a school is better suited for him. Now he feels special He knows that where he’s at, we’re helping him, they are helping him. We have the resources now and it’s because of the Parent Information Center. Parent Consultants are specifically trained in understanding special educational law and regulations in order to help parents navigate through the special education process.

As the state’s only on parent training and information center we Parent Consultants receive specialized training both nationally and regionally. Becasue of cultural barriers and language barriers, Hispanic parents find it very difficult to connect with with schools and to get involved in their children’s education. The Parent Information Center is like a bridge to the Hispanic parents.

I pass a lot of information in Spanish that explains to parents how the educational system works. There’s no other on program in the community I think in the whole state if Delaware that provides such important information to parents. It’s not just helping parents here and now advocate and learn how to advocate for their own child. It’s also helping to train future advocates.

My son is forty-two and I had to struggle for years to get services for him but I learned a lot along the way. The one thing about that is that I was going to share what I learned with other parents so they don’t have to stumble. We enjoy the rights that we have today making sure our kids can be a part of the typical classroom because of the advocates that have come before us. If a parent experiences 1 or two victories and feels that they have been effective in their engagement with the school then they are ready to help other parents Working with the school’s really can you really can produce a the best outcome possible