With many schools reviewing and writing new IEPs for the next school year this spring, are you ready to be an active, contributing member of the team? Here are some tips for parents in preparing for the important meeting……
1. Make sure you have your documentation ready to go. Be prepared with all IEP progress checks, report cards, and any other testing information like the NECAPs etc.
2. Review what these documents say, and make sense of them before you go to the meeting. What do the results all mean? Is your child making progress in a way that is measurable and functional? Can you tell that he or she is making progress or not?
3. Write a list of any questions that you have so that you don’t forget to ask them.
4. Make sure that when the teachers review progress at the meeting that they are using specific examples and measurements of progress. Just saying that “he has come a long way” or “ she is doing great in class” doesn’t cut it. By how much have they improved? Has his reading level gone up ½ a year? Can she multiply fractions or not…to what degree can she do it? Etc… Remember to always ask for measurable and specific examples of progress.
5. Make sure the IEP is updated appropriately. Present levels of performance need to reflect the year’s growth (or lack thereof), add new strengths and needs as appropriate and make sure that all goals and objectives are rewritten. An IEP shouldn’t be the same year to year—progress is not being made if it is, signifying that the programming is not appropriate.
6. Do you have concerns about regression of skills over the summer, or that extra time is needed to catch up? If so, make sure you have a discussion about Extended School Year services. If your child will regress during the summer months without school programming, make sure you ask for specifically what you think is appropriate for your child.
7. Remember….document, document, document. Take your own notes from the meeting and get copies of the school’s notes.
8. If you are uncomfortable going into a meeting alone, remember that you can bring someone with you to the meeting for support.
9. Remember, you have 14 days to sign the new IEP. Do not sign on the spot. Take the document home and review it and make sure you are comfortable with it. Have someone else look at it and give you a second opinion.
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