Thursday, April 19, 2007

Thirteen Thursday - 13 Things about IEP's

1. Always and I mean always, bring someone to support you. If your spouse or significant other can’t come with you, bring a friend or anyone you trust. Having a second pair of ears is invaluable as well as the comfort of having someone with you that’s “on your side”.

2. Expect and prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. It is better to be pleasantly surprised than to be shocked or in dismay.

3. Don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Your child needs you to advocate for them. By getting emotional and upset you can set the stage for defensive attitudes on both sides. Once people become defensive, it is difficult to get much if anything done.

4. Always bring goodies and a picture of your child. An 8x10 is preferable if you have it and set it up in a prominent place. It reminds everyone why you are there. The goodies make everyone’s tummy happy.

5. Don’t sign the IEP at the meeting. Say that you want to take it home and look it over to make sure you understand everything and don’t have any more questions. It is your right.

6. There is no such thing as a draft IEP.

7. If you do not agree to the IEP, but the administration insists that you need to sign for them to do anything. You can sign it, BUT make sure you write underneath or next to your signature that you do not agree with the IEP.

8. Document everything. Write down what was agreed upon at the IEP. At home, type up a list of what you understood to be agreed upon and then send it to the parties involved verifying the information.

9. Don’t assume everything agreed upon at the meeting verbally will be written into the IEP.

10. If your triennial IEP is coming up, request any testing you want done well in advance of the IEP. This is when the school determines whether the child should continue in special ed. or be exited out. This is the time to do any extensive testing.

11. Remember, the school districts don’t work during the summer. If your child’s annual IEP is in September or October (assuming a start of school at the end of August as it is here), request testing now. The school is way to busy in the fall trying to get everything running smoothly. Any new staff in special ed. will be busy trying to catch up and be familiar with the existing kids as well as incoming special ed. kids. Having the testing begin when school starts can push the annual IEP back and/or have the staff rushed when testing.

12. Shane over at ADHD and LD Resource bloghas a wonderful article called Preparing for your first IEP. She has some great information as well as links to some wonderful resources.

13. One of the best sites for information and help on IEP’s is Wrights Law. They are a great resource for parents and have many articles that you can download about a variety of issues. They also have a free newsletter that you can subscribe to. I have their book “From Emotions to Advocacy” and it has been of great help to me.

There are many, many more resources out there. My goal is to try to blog about a new resource each week. Check back often as I’m continually updating my lists.


Shane said...

Thanks so much for the info in dyspraxia. I'm going to check my local library for the book!

Shane said...

P.S. - Thanks for the mention and link in this post! Great advice.

julie said...

Hi! I'm Julie, a special education teacher from the Philippines. I stumbled upon your site through the Photo Hunters site. I see Shane's name here and now I remember that it was from your site that I got to her site. I hope its fine by you if we exchange links? Thank you.