Part of the work I do to remain positive and professional is focus on value systems. Knowing what I value about education, families, children, and the special education process is imperative. Some districts misinterpret the intention of advocates and our role in the process. Having a clear value system to refer to can help. Clearly defining
values can also help keep the focus on what your child needs to succeed in school. My value system defines my expectations at an IEP table and guides my own behavior. Here is my list:
I value children and putting their needs first.
I value meeting those needs with a plan.
I value that ALL children can learn.
I value inclusion.
I value differentiation.
I value equality.
I value the concept that “one size does not fit all”.
I value early interventions.
I value creative solutions and outside the box thinking.
I value collaboration.
I value flexibility.
I value honesty and integrity.
I value truth.
I value data, information, and learning.
I value training.
I value specific, detailed plans that are put in writing.
I value parent, child, and teacher input.
I value preparing children for the future.
I value asking questions.
(Yes, even the hard ones no one wants to answer.)
I value documentation.
I value second opinions.
(Yes, second opinions are ok! Really, they are!)
I value professionalism.
I value leaving plans a little better, a little more detailed than I found them.
I value families speaking their truth, their opinions, and
I value open communication.
I value learning from mistakes.
I value determination and follow through.
I value optimism.
I value the rights afforded to families under IDEA and Section 504.
What do you value? Maybe we have some shared values that can help unite us in a common goal to create an appropriate and individualized plan for a child. It’s a beautiful concept!