Unseemly IEP Team Member: “The Control Freak”

Blog | Special Ed Justice | Connecticut Special Education Lawyer

“The Control Freak”
This can be a teacher, therapist, service provider, or an administrator, really anyone who completely over-reacts whenever their opinions, responsibilities, recommendations, or expertise are questioned or challenged.
Sadly, The Control Freaks of the special education world are largely responsible for the number of disputes between parents and school districts.
These are the people who really, truly believe that they have learned everything they need to know about their area of expertise. Therefore, if a parent implies, or states outright, that their child’s special education needs perhaps cannot be properly evaluated or met by this person, they cannot handle it. One of the biggest problems I see when I am brought into a dispute by a parent is that some educators simply cannot allow themselves to admit that they made a mistake or don’t know everything about a particular child or disability.
Good professionals, in any field, know that they will always need to learn more. Control Freaks, however, see any new information as a personal affront.
So, when a parent presents an outside evaluation indicating that a child was improperly diagnosed, or wasn’t receiving enough or the right kind of services, instead of saying “well, we did not realize that Matt had Asperger’s Disorder, we really thought he had ADHD, but now that you’re bringing this evaluation to our attention, let’s rethink his IEP,” instead, the Control Freaks dig their heels in. The result: a huge dispute between the parties that could have been avoided simply by acknowledging new information.
It is tough to know how to handle the Control Freak, but in general, I suggest this: don’t allow yourself to be sucked into a heated debate with this person. You may be right, but they will never, ever admit it.


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