What is the number one tool to help your child make gains at school?
I know. I know. We all dread the IEP meeting. My 3 tips can help it move from feeling like an episode of “Game of Thrones” to “Queer Eye.” If you don’t know the reference, basically think “war to peace.” IT CAN HAPPEN!
Writing an effective IEP is probably the number one tool to help your child make gains in the upcoming school year. It is important for you to know key parts of the IEP and understand your rights as your child’s guardian.
Here are my top 3 tips to help you develop an effective IEP.
#1 – The IEP is a legal document.
If it’s not in writing, it is not part of the IEP.
So, if you feel strongly about something, make sure that it is
written in the IEP.
Here are some examples:
-Does your child need someone to meet them at the bus each morning to help with the transition into the school? If you are expecting this to happen each day, it needs to be written in the IEP.
-Does your child use a device or PECS (pictures) to communicate? If this is only written in the section under “Accommodations and Modifications” you do not know how often these tools are being used. Ask the team to be specific as possible. A goal can be written to address this need.
There is a section in the IEP labeled, “Parent’s Concerns.” Request to see this section before you leave the meeting. If it does not reflect your statements and/or concerns, ask for it to be changed. You are also able to bring a written statement to the meeting and the case manager should add, “see attached parent statement.”
#2 – YOU are the critical member of the IEP team.
As a mom (whose daughter had an IEP) and educator, I have sat on both sides of the table.
I know that as a parent (or guardian) it does not feel like you are an equal team member.
YOU ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PERSON AT THE MEETING.
No one will advocate more for your child than you will. Trust your instincts.
Is there someone on the IEP team (the special education teacher, OT, speech therapist) who really “gets” your child? Try to speak with them before the meeting to get their opinion on your concerns and possible ideas on how to address them.
#3 - Talk about your questions/concerns in a way that will get results.
Special education services are based on data.
This is an important point to remember.
As a mom, I know that we (families) can be very passionate about our thoughts and feelings about what is happening - or not happening - at school. However, you need to deliver the message in a way that will produce positive results.
Here are 4 strategies:
Do you feel confident at your child’s annual IEP? Let me know what you are struggling with and I will do my best to help!