I own a kayak.  Sometimes I think that if I only had a longer kayak, I would go faster.  If I had a longer boat though, then I would have less stability.  If I got a pedal kayak, then I could probably fish easier.  But, then I’d give up the satisfaction that comes from paddling.

With these and other kayaking variables whatever decision is made represents a compromise – I may get this, but I give up that.

I find myself reflecting on compromises when talking to parents about decisions regarding their child in school, particularly when it comes to special education.

It may not be totally satisfying (is any compromise), but no matter the decision  there will be another side to the decision, a compromise.

While you will hopefully be getting something with the decision being made, there is something you will be giving up.

You might say, for example, “Well, I don’t want my child to be missing out on what is being taught in the regular class.”

“Yes, I understand,” I might respond, “but you also want intensive, individualized instruction.  That doesn’t happen in the regular class.  Something has to give.”

Others talk about private school.  Private school might look good on one level, but there is the other side, the compromise with the child  being taken out of the local community into a school that is more than likely a distance from home, with virtually no kids he has known.

If the decoding is the focus of the remedial instructional time, then comprehension and vocabulary typically take a back seat.

You’re getting something, but giving up at the same time.

Takeaway Point

I’m not suggesting that you simply roll over,  play dead and accept whatever is handed to you, but I do think that the sooner you recognize there is a giving up while you are getting inherent in most special education decisions, then the ‘SEFF’ or  “Special Education Frustration Factor” may be slightly reduced.