The IEP meeting is over and months of planning, meetings, doctor’s appointments, e-mails, and phone calls have culminated into this one moment; helping your child receive an individualized education plan. It’s a great deal to take in and process. IEP meetings are long and filled with overwhelming procedures. However, having an IEP is a step in the right direction! Many families think, I have an IEP and now everything will be better. It’s NOT MAGIC! It is a start on a journey! The accommodations, interventions, and modifications your child needs are now in writing in a legal document. Here are 5 things you need to do to stay on course:
1. Create a file or binder organizing all your paperwork. It will be important to keep track of everything that happens in an IEP meeting and being organized is the first step.
2. Understand whenever you contact the school about your child or their plan you need to document it. Write down the date, who you talk with, and the method of communication. Also, include the topic of conversation. It is best to always contact teachers or administrators in writing. If problems arise, you have a well-established record of your attempts to communicate. From here on out the best policy is document, document, document.
3. E-mail all your child’s teachers. Introduce yourself, be friendly and welcome them to the team. This is your first line of defense if your child is not meeting their goals. Teachers will keep you informed, but you may have to reach out on a consistent basis to stay that way.
4. Ask the school what specific strategies they are using. Keep an open mind of things you might be able to implement at home. If you have specific things you are doing that work already, be sure to share those with your child’s teacher.
5. Understand your rights. Let me say that again, “UNDERSTAND YOUR RIGHTS!” Some of the most basic ones are important to know. You have the right to call an IEP meeting at anytime to review your child’s progress or make changes. You have the right to get them re-evaluated once a year if you like. You have the right to put things in writing. You have rights! Know them and use them!
The IEP process is a journey. It changes depending on whose involved, how your child is progressing, and planning for what is next. You know your child best! I am always available for an overview or advice. 605-431-3318 www.inspire1learning.com