I have found in looking around that there is the belief that we must fight for everything our children need to survive.
I have also found that it is essentially true, but, there is a catch.
In the large majority of cases a hard core confrontational approach does not work. It requires a friendly approach, but a constantly present, friendly approach.
In our sons school, my wife and I are fairly well known (as is our son) not as troublesome parents who are constantly fighting with the school and the educators but as a constant, vigilant presence always seeking to get the best for our child but never aggressive or confrontational.
While I have always felt we get the best (or fairly close to it) as possible care for our son while he is in school, I have never before realized just how much of a difference our approach makes in how both we, and he, are dealt with by the school and his support system.
Recently I have heard discussions amongst other parents of special needs children and the difficulties that they are having with the school. Listening to the discussions, and the difficulties they are having with the school and the district has led me to believe that our instinctive non-aggressive approach has been by far the more successful approach and that our son has benefitted greatly from this.
By having gotten the necessary diagnoses and having made every possible effort to make sure that our son was classified accurately (instead of artificially improving or worsening his condition) we have earned the reputation of parents who actually care for the progress of our son, as well we have gained the reputation of being realists who seriously want the best for their son and are willing to work hard for the best interests of their son without serious conflict with the school.
This is not to say we don’t disagree with the school at times or that we silently suffer through things we feel do not advance our son, what it means is we give them a fair listen and usually a real good try to see if there is any chance it will work, it also means that when we make a suggestion in his care then normally the school will attempt to make efforts to work with us to try our suggestions out also.
This is not to say that every school, in every district, is just as workable but what it means is that you have two real ways to work with the school. Aggressive and confrontational and constantly fighting to make sure you get what your child needs or you are non aggressive, non confrontational always friendly presence constantly working with the school to get what you can.
my suggestion is this always try the non confrontational approach first, give it a fair chance and realize it means actively interacting with this school in a friendly easy going way. If you find this does not work that well you can easily ramp up the aggressiveness to the point where the school/district reacts to meet the needs of your son (in some cases this even requires court action) but always remember you can ramp up your aggressiveness to get results but trying to go from aggressiveness to non aggressiveness will be usually met with hard feeling and distrust after a history has been established.
Always remember the needs of our children are the most important thing to us and it is our job as parents to do our best to make their lives the best we can and to give them the most effective tools we can give them to function to the best of their individual ability in the world. We only fail in our job if we fail to make a real effort to give them the best we can. The results are never a failure simply a realization of just how bad it could have been if we had put forth our best effort.