IEP Advocacy San Mateo
First, writing an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) document that accurately reflects who your child is and what they need is complicated. Second, for most parents, it is stressful. There are so many questions and doubts. Are my child’s needs being met, and did I ask for the right things? Did I forget anything? These, and many other questions, keep many of us on edge before, during, and after the IEP Team Meeting. In addition to being an expert negotiator, you have to understand testing, be able to answer team objections, work collaboratively – even in groups where it feels like you are the only one who got THAT memo.
Tricks and Hacks
Write down your agenda for the meeting. I always have two agendas. One we give to the school team, and a second private family agenda with additional notes supporting my arguments. The agenda can include services and supports you want for your child, concerns you have – anything and everything you want discussed at the IEP Team Meeting.
Record the meeting. It can feel a little uncomfortable telling the team you will be recording, and can feel confrontational. Leigh still records her son’s meetings with the Regional Center, and it still feels uncomfortable to tell them we will be doing so. It is important! It can help some team members behave more appropriately, and it gives you a record of the entire discussion. You never know until after the meeting whether or not you’ll need to record, so always record.
IEP documents need to include all IEP team decisions, and major discussions. Otherwise, they never happened. Districts sometimes make offers, There are times those offers do not get written on the IEP. In that case, the school is not responsible for implementing that item. When in doubt, have them write each and every significant item, conversation, and agreement on the IEP document.
As parents, we understand, As experienced and trained advocates, we can help.
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