Students and Parents
All young learners have strengths and talents. In Rainbow Schools, our goal as educators is to help each and every student maximize his/her potential and fulfill his/her aspirations.
One way we do this is by providing you with helpful hints and handy tips to make the learning process a positive one. Read the important information below and embark on a journey of self-discovery, self-understanding and self-acceptance.
Self-Advocacy for Students with a Learning Disability
Step One: Accept
Before you can advocate for yourself, you have to admit to yourself that you really do have a learning disability. You have probably worked very hard to hide your learning problems (even from yourself). Now is the time to admit that you have some difficulties and may need some special help in order to be successful.
Step Two: Admit
You cannot be a successful self-advocate if you continue to hide your difficulties from others. Naturally, you can’t expect teachers to provide appropriate accommodations if they don’t know about your disability. But it is just as important to be able to admit your difficulties to your friends. When you can really be honest about your learning disability, you will find that you no longer feel so ashamed and embarrassed about your learning difficulties. You will be able to relax a bit more in school and spend more energy learning rather than hiding.
Step Three: Understand your learning style
Hopefully, you have a pretty good understanding of how your brain works and how your learning disability interferes with your education. If you don’t understand how you learn, you can’t ask for accommodations that you really need. What is your strongest intelligence? If you are unsure of your learning style, ask the special education teacher to work with you to help you understand how you learn best.
Step Four: Know what you need
Do the accommodations listed on your individual education plan meet all of your learning needs? Which ones do you think will be the most useful for you? Can you think of other accommodations that may be better? Work with your teachers/parents to assist in developing your individual education plan to best meet your needs.
Step Five: Anticipate your needs in each class
Right from the start of each class you should be thinking about how you might be able to learn the material better. Maybe the teacher has a style that confuses you. Maybe there are too many distractions in the room. Maybe assignments aren’t presented clearly. Begin talking with your teachers about accommodations as early as possible.
Step Six: Know your student rights and responsibilities
You have a right to an appropriate education and appropriate accommodations to meet your needs. Are you prepared to discuss your rights with a teacher that may be “reluctant” to provide appropriate accommodations? Do you know where to turn for support when your needs are not being met? Don’t take advantage of your right to accommodations by requesting things you don’t really need.
Step Seven: Know where to go to for support
Sometimes even an effective self-advocate needs support. Find someone who understands your learning disability and can provide support (or can even advocate for you) when needed. Some examples may be your classroom teacher, the resource teacher, the principal, your parents, or a family friend.
Parents/guardians are important partners in the learning process. Rainbow Schools are committed to fulfilling each student’s potential by providing solid support systems.
Collaborative relationships with parents/guardians and strong community partnerships complement the work of staff and have an impact on the success of our exceptional students. Together, parents/guardians, educators and community members form a dynamic group dedicated to creating the best possible learning environment for your exceptional child.
Parents/guardians of a child with an exceptionality are encouraged to:
- Become familiar with and become informed about board policies and procedures in relation to special education programs and services.
- Participate in IPRCs, parent-teacher conferences and other relevant school activities.
- Provide input into the implementation and review of the IEP with the school team and other professionals.
- Participate in the development of the IEP.
- Become acquainted with and support the school staff working with their child.
- Support their exceptional child at home.
- Work with the principal and teachers to solve problems.
- Be responsible for their child’s attendance.