Are you the parent of a child with a disability who receives special education services? Do you wonder if special education personnel are manipulating the IEP team to make predetermined decisions, usually different than what your child needs? Would you like to learn about the Delphi technique and how to overcome it? This article will give you the ammunition and information you need to overcome the manipulation that is part of the Delphi technique, and finally get your child the special education services they need!
The Delphi technique was initially developed so that experts in a particular field would be able to come to a consensus. Over the years the use has been distorted so that now it is being used to pit members of one group against members of another group. This is done by the meeting facilitator who asks all members of the group what their position on the issue at hand is. They find other group members that agree with their position, and manipulate them to turn against the members of the group that do not agree with them. This is an unethical way to get the group to agree to whatever the predetermined outcome was!
This technique is being used in special education to pit IEP team members against parents and any other people that take the parents side.
Below are 5 ways to overcome the Delphi technique for your child’s benefit:
1. Recognize when the technique is being used, and expose it! Take copies of information on the Delphi technique to any school meeting especially an IEP meeting if you suspect that this technique is being used! Exposure is one way to overcome this unethical technique!
2. Always be charming-never at any point become angry! No matter how many personal attacks come or what the facilitator says stay calm! Why? Because if the facilitator or coordinator can get you angry then they look like the victim. By staying calm despite personal attacks will make you look like the victim, and not the coordinator. Other group members may them take your side because it looks like you are being verbally attacked!
3. Stay focused on the issue and your position on the issue. Use my favorite advocacy technique-repeat, repeat, repeat! If the facilitator tries and puts you on the defensive and change the subject keep repeating what your opinion or question is over and over until the facilitator actually answers the question.
4. If the coordinator begins a long dragged out dissertation on the issue listen calmly. They are trying to distract you and get you angry. When the person is finished bring up your opinion or the question again! Stay focused on the particular issue at hand and do not be distracted.
5. It is important to note that if this technique is being used in a larger meeting, say a school board meeting, it will look a little different. If the people that disagree with the meeting coordinator remain calm and keep bringing the subject back to the issue at hand; the person may ask for a break. Stay away from people that agree with you, and do a little spying on the coordinator and their group of people. This tactic will prevent them from sending in spies to your group, so that they can find out what your next step is!
I think the hardest part of overcoming this technique is to not become upset when you are personally attacked in a meeting-IEP or other type of meeting. I have been called names and told that I am stupid for caring and defending children with disabilities rights, to an appropriate education. My feeling is that if they are attacking me they have nothing to counter what I am saying, and I do not let it bother me.
The Delphi technique must be found, exposed and overcome for the good of all children with disabilities!