Seeking Supplemental Security Income benefits for a minor can be a long and difficult process. Cases involving minors can be strengthened or weakened by reports and evaluations from the child’s school. Teacher generated reports can be both helpful and harmful to your child’s case.
One of Donati Law’s own, a former Memphis City School’s teacher, has compiled these helpful guidelines for you to follow that will assist you in getting the most useful information from educational resources.
- Make sure you communicate regularly with your child’s classroom teacher. Teachers need to have all pertinent information about the child in order to fully meet their needs in the classroom. Do not be apprehensive about discussing issues involving your child with the teacher. It may seem at times that you are giving too much information or that the child may be painted in a negative light due to your openness. Do not feel that way. The teacher can not fully advocate for your child without first seeing the full picture of his/her situation. The teacher wants to help. Be sure your communication is frequent and honest. For example, let’s say you are having a hard time paying for your child’s medication. If you explain to the teacher on the front end that you are doing your best to stay on top of getting the medication but financial circumstances have prevented consistency, then the teacher will have all of the information and most likely be more supportive with his/her statements regarding the medication. Without that open dialogue, the teacher may assume that the medication just isn’t a priority for you and may disclose that opinion in the evidence.
- Keep communication positive with the faculty of the school. It is difficult to override a first impression so make sure all contact with school officials is handled appropriately.
- Make sure you attend all scheduled meetings regarding your child’s educational plan. For instance with Memphis City/Shelby County Schools, in order to have an IEP (Individual Education Program) meeting several people must coordinate their attendance in advance. Some representatives that must be in attendance do not work on school grounds so your cooperation and flexibility will be appreciated.
- Listen carefully to the advice that you are given by educational professionals. If your child’s teacher has recommended that your child be tested academically or psychologically, understand that the teacher has your child’s best interests at heart and it suggesting testing to help your child succeed.
- Be patient. Teachers are often overwhelmed by paperwork and frequently need more time to get additional paperwork completed. Sometimes offering a friendly reminder as a follow up to your request is helpful.
- Speak up. Ask the teacher what outside resources you can use to help your child. Teachers have a wealth of knowledge about programs and activities that can get you more involved in your child’s education. Your enthusiasm and interest in your child’s progress will not go unnoticed.
You may have noticed that the common theme among these suggestions is communication. The best way to assure that the teacher is an advocate for your child’s case is making sure that the lines of communication are open, honest, and positive.