RE: special needs

Johnson-Cox (
Mon, 2 Feb 1998 19:25:44 -0800

I am still learning about using repertory grids, so take my advise lightly.
When you mentioned coming up with questions for parents, I immediately
thought of my experiences with parents. School counselors are often the
first person the parents talk to when there is an academic concern (at
least at the high school level). I often make the referral for testing,
and then sit in on the IEP in the event that counseling services become
part of the IEP.

Based on this interaction with the parents I see a recurring theme. The
parents seem desperate to remember how they handled their academic
problems. I see the parents comparing their son or daughter to themselves.
Some parents will say, "Well I had the same difficulty so it is no surprise
or big deal." Other parents will be very concerned because neither
struggled academically and wonder why their child is different than them.
These comments suggest to me that their ideas about their child's style of
learning, learning disability or other special need are more personal than
counselors and teachers sometimes assume.

Perhaps a question about the parents' experience in school is needed to
fully understand their frame of reference. My sense is that when I deal
with parents with almost any issue, I am dealing with some ghosts from
their school days. Knowing their experience helps me understand many of
their concerns.

Kerri Johnson