Dear Hyperion Families,
I learned something important recently. Well, I learned multiple things of importance, but there is one particular piece of learning that I feel applies to many of you.
Backstory- I live in a house that was built in 1880. It is thought to originally have been a boarding house for the immigrants who built the trolley tracks running behind it and eventually became my great grandparents farmhouse. It has been in my family ever since.
Back to the present day- It is a cold, drafty house in need of some new windows. My husband and I have many skills, but home repair skills aren’t one of them. So, we called some professionals. Therefore on a cool Friday in October, two men in their early thirties showed up, took a look at our windows, made a diagnosis, and then attempted to share their findings with us. I say they “attempted” because they didn’t do it well. I only understood about every other word. They used terms and acronyms like “low E glass”, “IGU”, "buttering" and "casement". I stared blankly and nodded like I understood. I felt inadequate and undereducated. When I reflected later, I realized that I should have asked them to define terms, explain, and slow down.
Fast forward to 2 days later- I attended school meeting for one of our students here at Hyperion Language and Learning Services. I sat there and listened while the school professionals spoke about a “prior written notice” and of the student’s "present level of performance", "lexile levels", and "orthographic processing abilities”. As a professional who has worked in schools for the past 12 years I easily followed the conversation and thought nothing of it. That is until I looked over at the parents. They stared blankly and nodded like they understood.
The realization that I probably use terms that our families don't understand on a daily basis hit me like a ton of bricks. I was making people feel exactly how the window repair men made me feel. The lack of understanding does not happen because a parent isn’t properly educated, doesn’t care, or is lacking anything at all. The terms are being tossed around like popcorn because when we work within a specific field, be it education or window repair, we use the lingo so easily and effortlessly.
As a result of my window repair experience, it really hit home how important it is for me to change the language I use, slow down, and explain terms. To all of you wonderful parents and caregivers, if I (or another educational professional) am using terms or sharing information about your child that you don't understand, please please please feel empowered to ask for definitions, explanations, and clarifications. I know I should have done just that with the window repair men! In the following weeks I will be posting several articles covering specific terms related to Individualized Education Plans, evaluations, and academic performance so stay tuned! Thanks for reading and reach out if you need help navigating your student's educational plan!