The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) that is created for students with disabilities and other special needs is revisited every few months or every year. If your child has one of these documents, you probably already know that it explains goals and implementation ideas that school teachers and personnel will adhere to in an effort to give your child a rewarding school year.
A meeting is usually convened in order for you to sit down with some teachers and administrators to modify the IEP, but if you feel you're meeting resistance or aren't quite sure that everything is being done for your child, you might want to use these IEP conference suggestions.
1. Take Notes
Above all, you want to ensure that you understand everything that is being said. It's also important to have some record of what has happened during the meeting too. Being able to note specific phrases and answers to your questions will enable you to assemble new information or documents for a later meeting. In addition, if you are considering legal action or professional assistance from a lawyer who specializes in the area of special education, notes can often be crucial for those purposes.
2. Bring Backup
At any IEP meeting, it's easy to feel overwhelmed because you will be sitting across from professional educators with their own ideas and techniques for working with children like yours. You might fear that your own suggestions aren't going to be taken seriously, especially if they're at odds with what school personnel would prefer.
For that reason it's smart to have some "back up" whenever you attend a meeting. It can take many forms; if your child's therapist has agreed to write a statement, for instance, that will suffice. Your child's physician may approve greater activity or your child's speech therapist may have a list of studies that reinforce the need for changes like the ones you're suggesting. The more documentation and support you can present, the better.
An attorney could be another form of back up support as well. Their presence will ensure that your child's rights are respected and that your voice continues to be heard.
3. Join Parenting Groups
Parents can be another helpful resource. Special needs kids face challenges from time to time in school, and parents of these children, like you, are always willing to assist others. Parent suggestions about how to conduct yourself inside the meeting or how to advocate for your child to the local school board are valuable.
With these actions, any changes or modifications you'd like for your child and their IEP should be easier to achieve. Working with other parents and your special education attorney, you can keep speaking up for your child's growth and education