What bothers you most about Sp. Ed. teachers - FamilyEducation
What bothers you most about Sp. Ed. teachers
07/03/2007 at 04:29 AM

I am a Sp. Ed. teacher in the central valley of CA.  I have been teaching for eight years, but I'm always looking for ways to improve teacher/parent relations.  So, if you don't mind, would the parents here be willing to tell me what bothers them most about Sp. Ed. teachers?



we live in maryland and I am not impressed with my son's present teachers because they do not communicate any meaningful suggestions to support or further his progress.  I have tried to make up home made activities to address his IEPs and I am not sure that this is the right thing to do.  These teachers do not communicate with us except for when they have to like when IEPs are due.


Dear teacher,

What bothers parents the most for sp.needs is the worry that is their child going to have the same kind of future that normal children have . Will there be a change in his or her behaviour or will they be a secure personality in the near years ahead.

Thanks for asking.



I am both a special ed teacher and the parent of a child with AS. AS a parent, I wish the teachers would put more stock in what I have to say. As a special ed teacher I know that it is hard to discern if the parents have 'wishful thinking' or if they really know their child. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt because they know their kid better than anyone.


What bothers me is that I never know whats going on! I want to be involved or at least notified of my childs projects.


For the most part they beleieve that they are more expert in the topic than the parents of the children, simply because they might have taken a few outdated courses or read a few books. We, the parents live it everyday, and our experience is current. I do not like having my concerns or suggestions brushed away. I don't appreciate when the sp ed teacher may only make 1 visit to my son in his classroom per month and feel as though they understand fully how he learns etc.


When my child's special ed teachers say, "I don't know what to with her!"  This irritates me because she is one of about 100,000 students; she can't be the only one with ADHD, learning difficulties, frustration and confusion. The teachers leave it up to us to find them answers, and they just ignore her, keep marking that she is making progress and refuse to adjust her goals.


The ones that actually help get shuffled aside by the counselor who thinks she is the all know!


Too many negative comments, (parents usually already know about their childrens behaviour problems) Let's try to focus on the positive!!!!


I agee with you all.  We the parents do know our kids.  And I feel the same that the teacher never takes my input serious.  Also the communication is not there either. Why is it wrong to want to be involved and help out all we can.  I mean, I am willing to help out the teacher too. What-ever it takes.  It should be a TEAM.


I have 2 children with special needs and they are now teenagers.  I am tired of having problems at the beginning of every school year with the implementation of their IEP's.  I am tired of hearing excuses of why the school can't do something.  Also, the expectation of the special ed teachers that my children can communicate what they did at school today and that I have the time and money to go out and buy what they need in school for the very next day.  We live 20 miles from the nearest Wal-Mart!  The school only sees them for 7 hours a day ... the other 17 hours they are at home.  Barb


I am a special need child because I have one hand and I have a brain injury. It is really hard for me sometimes to pay attention.


I've had to move a few times over the years and like clockwork, every Spec. Ed. teacher starts with, "Have you considered having his doctor medicate him?" I realize his lack of focus and hyperactivity is more challenging (after all I LIVE with him) but that's our decision. I don't even mind you asking about it ONCE in the beginning, but when I've made it clear that it's not an option for our family and to use behavior modifications instead; LEAVE IT ALONE! Some teachers let it go, some actually don't. One of his teachers kept encouraging meds, but wanted to be able to reward him with candy and was put out when I asked them not to give him candy as it makes him more hyper. Huh?

Don't get me wrong; the Spec. Ed. teachers are a special, devoted bunch and I appreciated their help. But this was one area that always bothered me.

We started homeschooling this past year and after a bumpy start, we're doing much better than when he was in school. 


My biggest frustration is generic not individualized information and services.

When asking for progress I want to know, he is now able to XXX, ZZZ, but is not able to do AAA yet.  Repeatedly being told he is making "some progress" does not let me know what areas to help or how to help him.

If he is not progressing as expected some SPED staff revert to, "not motivated, lazy, needs to try harder", while sometimes that may be the case, often times children need to learn differently, not trying harder on things that don't work.

The fact that you are asking the question tells me that you are open and being proactive to avoid the practices that you will hear most parents complain about.  THANK YOU!


My son has asd and adhd and it took me a long while to find a special ed teacher that is worth using. Many of them don't listen to what the child is saying, some in play ground situation automatically blames disorder child when theres a situation. Alot of them just don't have the patience or passion to teach these children. Its time to get tougher on teachers for special needs children!



I just found this post.  I am very happy w/ my child's spec ed teachers and therapists.  Their methods are wonderful, and I feel my son has come a long way.  However, when I voice a concern, I often feel it is brushed off, as I'm told, "Don't worry", "He's too young", "He'll be fine"....  Although I appreciate their positive outlook, I don't appreciate the teacher brushing off what I feel may be a legitimate concern.  Sometimes I feel like I'm made out to be a paranoid parent, but isn't that only natural?  Of course a parent's going to worry about her child.  Sometimes I feel the teachers need a reality check because they are not in the parents' shoes, and unless they are, they don't know how hard it is to deal with the unknowns of a child's future.  I think if they truly realized that, they would be a lot more sympathetic and a lot more supportive.  Parents are only concerned.  They're not trying to cause trouble.  Some teachers are so afraid of getting sued that they don't tell you anything, and that's really sad.  We are the parents, and we have every right to know what is going on w/ our children.  This is just my opinion.

Sincerely, concerned mom


Hey Scott,

  I know another boy with a brain injury.  He is about 22 now, but he was hurt when he was about 7.  His name is Jonathan.  He doesn't seem to have any problems walking or writing now, but I know he had a lot of therapy.  He hated  the therapy.  He is all finished with school now, and he has a part-time job and lives in an apartment.  I see him sometimes when I am riding the bus.  He is always fun to visit with. 


I know you asked for what bothers them most, I am going to tell you what I apreciated.

being listened to

having a teacher tell me "gee Im not sure lets find out"

showing honest concern for learning what I knew about how my son learned.

being there for my son.

cheering him on

knowing that my son knew she believed in his ability.

crying with me

 answering the questions she knew the answers to and finding the answers for the rest

celebrating with me

helping me get through to the other teachers what he needed not letting me deal with it alone

teaching my son orginization skills

working on social skills (even though she was the Language arts teacher, she understood he needed that help just as much we communicate through more then just words)

helping him make me a mothers day card

my son has now moved on to a new school and a new routine

through the support and encouragement of this teacher, he has managed to ignore the doubters at his new school and set goals for him self that he feels confident in acheiving.

from Grade two and crying if they asked him to say the letter sounds coming home and crying if he knew there was school the next day, through finding courage to start reading out loud in class and writting reports and essays, to setting a goal to return to the regular math program in grade 4 and making it in grade 6, to this year getting 84% in grade 10 english (his first year in regular language arts), and 67% in upper stream math.

a scared little boy is becoming a confident young man

she was there and made a difference

the first day I met her she sat me down and asked me to tell her about my son. How did her learn, what did he like, who i felt he was and in her words "because you know him so much better then anyone else,"   " I always feel like there is so much more I could do I dont know if Im doing enough or if Im good enough"

for 6 years she was a constant source of encouragement and trust for my son and me

She will echo through my sons life for the rest of his life.

she was the best

 I wish everyone else could find one just like her


My son's school has a spl ed teacher that was doing a distance course. She picked on my son and decided to use him as a lab rat and made a list of wrong doings she said she would address. We were not convinced with her list but played along. Then she asked permission to video tape him in sessions with her. We declined and thats when trouble began. My dear bright son has been accused of everything from Aspergers - yes Aspergers, to vision problems to being slow... The principal is caught between the spl ed teacher and us and gives in to who ever screams loudest. Our son's morale, confidence is shattered. And he is bright, he needs no spl ed. The spl ed teacer has created so much trouble, we will probably change schools.

I don't blame you for wanting to change schools if your son was picked to be a "lab rat" as you say, and he doesn't have any problems. What made this teacher choose your son for this project? Did you consent to this? You say your son is bright. Does he have any issues, though, that wld make this teacher think he belongs in special ed? If I were you, I wld talk to the teacher and find out what made her come to such conclusions. W/out proper evaluation and testing, this teacher has no grounds for labeling your son. You as parents have rights. I wld consult a lawyer. If what you say is true, and your son has never been diagnosed by a doctor, this teacher cld be in some trouble. However, if this teacher is only speculating that your son may have a problem, and is only showing concern, maybe you shld have your son tested by a dr.

Concerned, Our son's written work is not neat or fast. The last 2 years he has been in school, we have been told how bright he is. Our sons has never been diagnosed by a doctor and when she said Aspergers we got him evaluated and the answer was a categoric negative. The doctor was quite shocked the teacher has said Aspergers. The principal intervened and told us to consider it unsaid. With that out of the way, the teachers - spl ed and class - have been going out of their way to find fault. Finding fault is easy and destroying a child's confidence easier still. Worst their negative attitude has rubbed off on the other students. We plan to get an evaluation done Without an evaluation, our opinion has no value. As a mother it is expected I will say my son is bright even if he is not.

My son is said to be very bright also, and his handwriting is bad, among other things. For the handwriting, my son gets OT. He also gets speech therapy and PT, but never has any dr or teacher told us he has Aspergers or Autism. He's been tested for these disorders, and his therapists/drs say he's not even on the spectrum. In your case, something sounds fishy to me. It sounds almost like the school realized the teacher said the wrong thing, and now their trying to put it on you, making it your problem. I wld take your son to an OT to assess his fine motor skills. If he has any other learning problems or difficulties, get another medical opinion. Once you do this, bring all written reports and findings to your son's school. Outside evals help tremedously when dealing w/ a school district. I hope this helps.

Exactly. thats what we plan to do. The doctors and even the OT is so surprised we want to chk him out.

Good luck! Keep us posted on how you make out.

We got our son tested and other than motor control there is nothing the matter with him. we started him off on OT and hopefully within a 6 month - 1 year period, he should be up to steam. his IQ is above averge and the doc and her entire team said he has no learning disability. His kinder teacher insisted he had a disability - i am not sure if that is her opinion or if the spl ed teacher's opinion. ThNow I feel the school is hell bent on finding something wrong just so that they are seen right. In an email the kinder teacher has mentioned the words learning disability. I have no written proof of the Aspergers diagnosis. Do I have any legal rights here?

There are many attorneys that specialize in education. I'm not a lawyer, but if your son was hurt by this "lab experiment", you may have a case. Find a decent lawyer in your area and see what he/she says. Continue w/ the OT. If you present all outside evaluations and findings to your son's school, I don't see how they can persue this argument any further. It's not their job to diagnose your son, and by no means can they force you to classify him. Don't let the school pressure you into doing anything you don't believe in. That's why there's help out there. I wish you all the best w/ everything.

re candy and hyper-activity. My son was doing great one week out of how many other kinds of weeks. He had a good week because I had just cut out all foods with dyes in them. The teacher decided to reward him with just 1 gummy bear after I had explicitly said "no candy - the dye makes him climb walls." Well by the end of that day he was sent to the office a a behavior problem. duh. Would love to see teachers take more stock in what parents say.

teachers or any staff for that matter have no right to use diagnosis or any labels implying there is one unless there is an official diagnosis from a doctor. I don't know how far that would get you in legal matters but from my view - misdiagnosis and labels are very damaging for children not to mention they feel misunderstood and confused by how others treat them because they so can't relate to what is being said about them or to them. For me it would be a red flag and consideration for scouting other schools to see if there is something better out there.