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ADD/ADHD Information - Scotland
Parents should be fully involved in any decision which affects their child's education. Such practice is advocated in a number of key documents including The Education (Scotland) Act 1980 (as amended) and The manual of good practice, Circular 4/96.
© adders.org - Ecosse ADDers 2005
A parent of a child with special educational needs might be asked to attend a meeting for a number of reasons. For example they may be asked to discuss the possibility of the opening of a Record of Needs and the process involved in this; attend a review meeting to discuss their child's progress to-date or contribute to a discussion about their child's behavioural or social difficulties. Whatever the reason, the parent will want to feel that s/he can make a useful contribution and that this will be heard and valued.
Increasingly, decisions about a child's educational needs are made via consultation with a range of professionals often drawn from all of the statutory agencies. Most parents want to be actively involved in these meetings but some may require additional help, support and advice in order to participate fully. This is where a parent supporter can be invaluable.
What a parent supporter can do
A parent supporter can help the parent in a number of ways and the role can vary from simply 'being there' as a quiet supportive presence to being active as an advocate and negotiator on behalf of the parent. The tasks that a parent supporter could therefore carry out include:
Outwith the meeting
By helping the parent:
1. explore the purpose of the meeting;
2. identify the kind of information that would be most helpful to share in a meeting;
3. talk through their views with their child;
4. keep correspondence and paperwork in order;
5. write letters
6. identify the people who will ultimately make decisions on behalf of a child and clarify their role and responsibilities;
7. develop and continuously review an appropriate action plan.
At a meeting
1. being a second listener;
2. taking notes on behalf of the parent;
3. speaking for the parent where appropriate;
4. advocating for the parent.
Helping a parent request a meeting
If a parent is worried about their child's progress at school, it can be helpful to ask for an appointment with the school and to do so by putting a request in writing. Writing a letter has a number of benefits, for example it:
1. helps the parent collect and order their thoughts. This is necessary preparation and will give a clear purpose and helpful structure to a meeting;
2. will give the school time to understand a parent's concerns and prepare the necessary paperwork for the meeting.
When it comes to meetings, parent supporters can help the development of good practice by helping the parent think about the things they would expect from a meeting. These should include issues ranging from the physical location and environment, through to who should attend and inter-personal issues. It will therefore help if parents are:
1. involved in determining the date and location of the meeting;
2. sent information in writing in advance of the meeting (for example: agendas, background papers and letters explaining why the meeting is being held and the people invited);
3. provided with relevant information in terms of the statutory guidance which relates to their child's current situation and circumstances;
4. informed about local groups or services they can access to give support and information;
5. asked to say if there are any reasons why they can't attend a meeting (for example: child care, transport or work issues);
6. informed of their rights and responsibilities;
7. given information about complaints and redress procedures.
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