Parent Checklist for Special Education
This checklist is designed to be used by parents to aid in their selection or to help improve programs for their young child with special needs. While this checklist is based on the DEC Recommended Practices in Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education (Sandall, McLean, & Smith, 2000), it does not include all of the practices. It is meant to give parents a general overview of the program by highlighting some of the salient practices. For more information on the DEC Recommended Practices and other resources, contact DEC (see contact information at the end of this checklist). Within the checklist, the term professional will be used to refer to teachers, therapists, classroom assistants, and others who work with children.
How do professionals work together with families to meet the needs of the children?
- Teams of professionals and family members make decisions and work together.
- Professionals from various disciplines (e.g., physical therapy, speech therapy) teach skills to each other so that when they are working with children they can work on all of the child’s goals.
- Services are based on the child’s needs, involve the child’s regular caregivers, and focus on the child’s regular routines.
- Services are provided in ways that eliminate stress, are flexible and individualized for each child and family, and promote the well being of families.
- Services are sensitive and responsive to the cultural, ethnic, racial, and language preferences and backgrounds of families.
How does the program determine the strengths and needs of the child and family?
- Programs provide families with a primary contact person and easy ways to contact that person.
- Families and professionals meet together to talk about the child’s strengths and needs.
- Professionals ask families to talk about their child’s interests, abilities, and needs and demonstrate to the families that this information is critical and useful in terms of developing the child’s program.
- Professionals ask families to talk about their resources, concerns, and priorities related to their child’s development.
- Professionals use a variety of methods for determining the child’s strengths and needs (e.g., observe the child in different settings, interview the primary caregivers, test the child).
- Professionals test children in settings that are comfortable for the child.
- Professionals become familiar with the child before testing him/her.
- Professionals and families assess children at different times during the year to measure progress. Modifications in the child’s program are made based on these ongoing findings.
- Professionals report assessment results to families in a way that is understandable, sensitive, and responsive to the family’s concerns.
- Families are given time to ask questions, express concerns, or make comments about assessment findings before decisions are made about the child’s program.
- Professionals tell families about their rights related to assessment.
Reprinted with the permission of the Council for Exceptional Children. © 2006-2007 Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). All rights reserved.
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