As some of you already know GDD (Global Developmental Delay) is really just another term encompassing the delays brought about by disorders such as autism, dyslexia and other disabilities.
However, when a child is diagnosed with such disabilities, there are parents who sometimes dread that this means their child cannot even attend school.
The truth though is that GDD is hardly grounds for keeping a child from receiving a proper education. In fact, that is why Australia has the Disability Standards for Education. Practically every school in the country has some form of special education services in one form or another.
That said, there will always be times when it can be difficult to put these things into practice. Parents should certainly take additional measures to make sure that their special needs child is still especially equipped when attending school
Here are some very good suggestions:
- Establish communication with your chosen school.
Even with all the government mandates, it is still only proper to establish a strong line of communication with the school your child will be attending. Parents should certainly become accustomed to having their own process of reaching out to a school, whether it is through meeting with teachers in person or at least writing a letter about your child’s condition.
- Acquire necessary documentation of the diagnosis.
While news of diagnosis is typically told in person, there is nothing that stops parents from requesting documents that put the diagnosis in writing. These include not only test results but also full reports that can serve as written proof when applying for a special needs program in your chosen school.
- Study your child’s IEP carefully.
All special needs children who attend school will eventually be assigned an Individualised Education Program (IEP). And as the name implies, it is a program intended to really cater to the more unique aspects of your child’s developmental disability and it also where parents will learn if a child shall be formally exempted from certain subjects (e.g. sports, literature).
- Create safeguards for your child at school.
Another challenge often faced by special needs children at school is the lack of parental presence. This can be especially difficult for children who may be non-verbal or have sensory problems. Hence, one of the top priorities parents should have when talking with educators is how a child can be safeguarded while you’re not around. Whether it is the school’s anti-bullying policy or safe spaces for special needs children, you should know everything that is available to your family and make the most of it.
- Show support in areas your child excels in.
Last but certainly not least, you should always be ready to support your child in any area they excel in (rather than just focus on where their learning is delayed). If an IEP recommends a subject that they seem most interested in and excels at, then do what you can to take them further (whether it’s through tutoring or just giving them something that encourages them to keep exploring it).
School is an integral part of any child’s development and not even disability should be seen as an obstacle to it. The best part though is that parents are hardly alone in thinking so. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the many resources you have available to you and get your child to school!
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