As a parent of a special needs child, you have a lot of responsibility when it comes to making sure your child gets the education that they need. This means that when it comes to the school system, you’ve got to have a direct and intimate involvement with the process and the accommodations that are being made for your child.
Since school districts are restricted by their budget and are usually slow to give individualized attention to one child, parents of kids who need a specific type of education will often need to advocate and fight for their child, to ensure that their education is administered properly.
If you find yourself in that battle, the best thing you can do to help you and your kid’s cause is to be informed about the topics you’re conversing with the school system about.
One of the best ways to achieve this is to be well read in the area of special education, and to read from multiple perspectives. Here are ten books on special education that are mostly meant for educators, but can prove to be a great resource for parents looking to be effective advocates for their children.
1. Wrightslaw: Special Education
As referenced in our earlier article, Wrightslaw is an amazing resource both on and offline. Wrightslaw: Special Education is released in succeeding updated editions, bringing together the most complete and updated information about laws and policies of the special education process. It details everything an educator or parent would need to know in dealing with special education and the law.
2. Better IEPs
This book is completely devoted to the legalities and the law as it relates to special education. It is something that many special educators look for when they need to comprehend or create their special education programs. It takes an actional, education-oriented approach to the material, making it a great resource for parents who are in a dispute with their school district over their child’s education.
3. How the Special Needs Brain Learns
David A. Sousa gets into the thought processes and learning methods that are typical for special needs children. Not only is this book helpful for parents looking to understand how their children learn, but it’s something teachers should look to when creating lesson plans.
4. The Complete Guide to Special Education
This book is resource for teachers which covers not only special education policies as well, but also how parents experience the special education process. Whether or not the book directly relates to your personal experience, it aims to teach teachers how to deal with parents, and as such can be great diplomatic guide when in talks with a school district.
5. The IEP from A to Z
This is another book that encourages special education teachers to work with parents, and thus is something that parents can look to when trying to understand the perspective of the educator during due process. Working together will make sure that your child is getting the best and most individualized education that will help them succeed in school.
6. Including Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities in Typical Classrooms
If your child has severe special needs and you want to them to be included in a mainstream classroom, this book covers the ways in which inclusion occurs in different classroom settings and strategies for successful inclusion. Inclusion can be a great challenge, especially if a school district has not accommodated this process before, but understanding what both a school, educators, and students go through during inclusion can provide you with a better ability to negotiate.
7. The Mislabeled Child
Written by two doctors, this book outlines the varying learning disabilities and discusses how to approach them in terms of teaching strategy. A useful tool for educators in diagnosing and teaching children, it can also help you as a parent understand what style of teaching might work best for your child.
8. Lost at School
Ross Greene delivers a more pointed discussion about behavioral issues and how these issues affect classroom performance. He also provides strategies for dealing with disruptive or even harmful behavior in the classroom which can be employed by teachers and parents.
9. Case Studies in Assessment of Students with Disabilities
Practicality and real-life examples are the centerpiece of this book, which helps show teachers how certain training and strategies have worked in actual classroom situations. As a parent you can look to this book to see how other children with disabilities have fared in certain situations; it even includes questionnaires to assess your knowledge of special education.
10. Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnoses of Gifted Children and Adults
This one is particularly helpful for parents as it highlights the emotional factors and behavioral issues surrounding special needs kids and how to deal with those occurrences. When it comes to IEPs this book can help you better grasp how your child is being diagnosed and how that will affect their education.
Learning as a Parent
When you know your child is going to have a difficult time getting a proper education, even under the best circumstances, you’ve got to learn as a parent and become a student of your child.
If you can better understand what they are and will go through as a student with special needs, you’ll be far more able and qualified to speak on their behalf, encourage them, and advocate for them, both at home and in the classroom.