Parents of children with academic challenges frequently struggle to find a program and environment that best meet their child’s learning needs. School administrators and parents are integral in designing an effective specialized program through an individual education plan meeting (IEP).
Be prepared, keep your cool and follow these tips to make the most of your child’s IEP.
- Prepare for the Meeting– Think about what is working well and what isn’t with your child’s current IEP, if he/she has one. Request copies of assessments plus outside test results. Make a list of questions.
- Bring Support Alone– lf possible both parents should attend. lt it also helpful to take someone else or an advocate. Ask your school district for a recommendation.
- Look Over the IEP lnvitation– This should say who is attending. Do you want someone else to attend who knows your child’s special needs? A therapist or other professional would be welcome.
- Schedule the meeting at a convenient time for your family.
- Ask for clarification– Make sure you ask all your questions. lf you don’t understand ask that it be restated in clearer terms.
- Express your Desires– As your child’s number one advocate, you offer a unique perspective. Communicate what you would like to see in the IEP and don’t be afraid to disagree.
- Keep the Meeting on Track– This is your meeting focusing on developing a plan for your child. Don’t let administrative needs take over.
- Take the time You Need– Sometimes it takes longer for an IEP to be completed. lf members of the meeting leave, schedule another meeting when all the needed members are there.
- Keep Cool– You Get More With Honey Than Vinega/’
- Say Thank You– Praise the positive things and thank the administrators who have gone out of their way to make your child’s school experience a valuable one. Even if you are not completely satisfied, acknowledgment of any efforts to help your child.