Support, information and advice for parents
While there is no question that every child’s issues in school are as varied as the children themselves, it may be reassuring to remember that you are not the first nor only parent to confront these problems. There are a plethora of professional and personal resources to which you can turn for support, information and advice.
- Advocates for Special Education (MA resources) – This excellent site, started by family members of children with special educational needs, lists dozens of state resources, attorneys and advocates all over Massachusetts who can provide you with information about getting your child specialized help. Whether your child needs assistance with boosting his executive function skills or you need your child tested, and even if you just need help in translating the parameters of an IEP you will almost certainly find someone on this exhaustive list who can be of assistance.
- SEPACs/SPEDPACs – Local Special Education Parents’ Advisory Councils exist in almost every town in Massachusetts; a few in our area include Brookline, Dedham, Natick, Newton, Needham, Wayland, Wellesley and Weston (you can access each town’s resources via the link above). These highly specialized organizations help parents of students with special educational needs get the support and services they and their children need within individual school districts. A separate organization that does a lot of work with MA SEPACs is the Federation for Children with Special Needs.
- Your pediatrician – Chances are that your child’s own physician has had experience with other children who struggle with executive function or other educational and attention issues. S/he undoubtedly maintains at his/her office a list of resources for local neuropsychologists and other professionals who can provide testing, information, referrals and even intervention and treatment.
- Your child’s teachers (past and present) and the SPED teachers and liaisons at your child’s school – The educational professionals at your child’s school are in a unique position to be most aware of not only your child’s specific issues and struggles but also what has worked well in the past within the parameters of the specific school itself.
- Other parents – While it is of paramount importance to get your child the specialize help she needs, it is also crucial for you to have support as the parent of a child with special educational needs. Seeking out other parents whose children have executive function issues and ADD/ADHD and those whose children have other special needs can provide you with highly personal and well-vetted resources, a sense of community – and maybe even some friends.