Confidentiality, sometimes as parents you wonder if the school understands what this means.
When you have a special needs child, the siblings, you the parents and your home come under a microscope of scrutiny. And so does any plan of intervention prepared by your consultant.
Depending on your school district when you have a special needs child, there is a school based team which includes the teachers, case worker from special education department, maybe a school psychologist, and principal, and this team should also include you and your consultant. This is where you as a parent must be pro-active to insist you both remain part of this team, because as the school year progresses and lets face it you’re busy working trying to earn an income, it is really easy for the school based team not to consult you. In fact may schools prefer to keep you out of the loop, as they are not used to working with parents. And many of these professionals believe they know best.
Your child’s records, intervention plan, your other children, information about you as a parent is discussed, recorded and shared with these professionals and employees of the district. When an intervention plan is created for your special needs child it goes into their confidential file with the school and again everyone with the school has access to this. Here’s a word of caution that happens all too often. Your child’s intervention plan is copied and shared with other school district employees and other schools for another child.
Here’s another scenario for you, “a parent with a special needs child reviews their child’s file or a communication file with the school and discovers an intervention plan for someone else’s child that your school has decided to implement for your kid. And they didn’t even bother removing the other child’s name or the name of this other child’s consultant.” What kind of alarm bells are going off for you right now?
An intervention plan is done specifically for one child. There is no such thing as using a program for Child A, and doing the same thing for Child B. And schools need to clearly understand this.
There is a fine line that has to be walked with regards to confidentiality, because for your child’s success other parents and students need to know tons of key information about your son or daughter. From day one of the new school year the kids in class need to understand clearly, what Child A’s diagnosis is, the child’s strengths, how they as a peer can help and include the child. Give them the tools they need to work with your child. And also that its okay to play, and talk and include this child.
One of the worst things that happens in all schools is not divulging information to the class about “child A.” What you don’t want is the kids stepping away because child A does act in a typical fashion, or yells and screams, or doesn’t understand long auditory instructions-any number of scenarios. And when the peers don’t understand, they will move away from the special needs child. And part of the success for a special needs children is working with his/her peers.
Part III – When your special needs child is alienated at school. October 28