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Career Story: Evalutation Team Facilitator For Children With Disabilities

Evalutation Team Facilitator For Children With Disabilities

Job Title: Evaluation Team Facilitator

Type of Company: I work for an urban school district in Massachusetts.

Education: BS, Home Economics Education •• MS, Early Childhood Education •• certification in early childhood, regular education, and special education (moderate special needs)

Previous Experience: I worked as a home economics teacher in high school, then as a pre-school teacher, then as a special needs teacher at two different levels (kindergarten and grade 3), then was offered my current job as Evaluation Team Facilitator.

Job Tasks: I hold annual meetings (required by law) for each child in three public elementary schools who have been found to have disabilities and have an individualized education program (IEP). I get the team to come to an agreement on what the child's disability is and what services he or she needs. I write the IEP and get the parent to sign it, answering any questions and clarifying any concerns. I make sure the child gets his/her services, such as speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and counseling. I represent the school district at hearings when necessary. I get parental written consent when we need to do new testing and notify all the testers (psychologist, special ed teacher, speech therapist, etc.) and coordinate plans for those meetings. I request programs for children, based on what the teams request, and help parents set up visits to programs. I answer parent questions and am a sounding board for teachers and principals. I get everyone to work together and listen to one another so we can get the best outcome for each child.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Sometimes parents can't get their child into the program they want, and they become frustrated with me. Sometimes I have to help the parent to understand just how significant their child's disability is, and that is difficult.

Job Tips: My variety of experience at different grade levels and in different school settings really helped me in this job. There is no shortcut to getting lots of experience. Look for a mentor and learn all you can from him/her. I would also find a dedicated, capable teacher in any setting I was in, and ask her for advice and ideas. I would even observe her class and ask her to observe mine and give me feedback. People are usually willing to help. Admit what you don't know and try to consistently work on your weaknesses.

Additional Thoughts: Every day I am learning because I work with psychologists, counselors, principals, parents, teachers, speech therapists, occupational therapists, etc. It is wonderful to always be learning! College is just the beginning. The most important personal qualities for success in my job are: being a good listener, collaboration, showing respect to all parties, working together to consensus, working hard and being willing to put in extra hours if needed.

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