Are Parents Considered the Experts of their Own Special Needs Children?

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This has been a rough IEP season at my office.  Not because money is still tight and funding sources are scarce for special education services, or because these meetings can go on for hours on end, but because it seems parents are often not considered experts of their own children with special needs.  And when parents question the appropriateness of services, why do they have to defend their positions of advocacy, and if they can afford it, bring on someone like me to legitimize the request?  I worry about the countless parents who cannot afford private psychologists, attorneys or advocates, and who may not agree with their school district but defer to professionals for lack of recourse.  Might this play into why so many parents are choosing to home school? I’m not sure.  Regardless, I’m wondering how parents across the country experience the IEP process, and hoping that my recent observations do not reflect a larger reality.

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