IEP Musts San Mateo County Part 3
Third in a Series on IEP Essential Components
WRITE IT DOWN
Susie and Leigh often say the first, second, and third rule of special education is write it down. This applies when you are asking your child’s school for anything that matters. This includes but is not limited to an initial evaluation, an IEP Team Meeting, details on whether the school is implementing your student’s IEP. It also applies when the district makes offers to you that substantially impact your child’s education. More on that in our next blog post.
No, not really. Things can be going smoothly, and suddenly something changes. A teacher quits or goes out on leave. Your child has a long-term substitute who does not appear to have read your child’s IEP. The OT or speech therapist stops providing services. The easiest and best way to track this is in writing. Most of us do this via email. A quick “When was the last time Jacob received speech services?” or “Does Emma have a permanent RSP teacher?” are questions for which you need answers.
Especially critical is that parents write when asking for assessments. It is even more critical when requesting an initial assessment to see if your child qualifies for special education services. We know a family with an autistic son who asked their child’s school to test when he started kindergarten. They called us several years and several grades later, when the child’s behavior had escalated. After we helped them write a request, district finally tested and determined the child qualified due to autism. The parents had repeatedly verbally asked the school to test. Yes, it is horrible and unacceptable that the school ignored their requests for so long. It is also awful that the district neither identified the child’s disability as they are required to do, nor made any effort until parents submitted request in writing. This, or some variation on this, happens more often than it should.
Email or Hand-Carry?
We have some parents who take two copies of each letter into the school, hands one to staff, and gets the second one date and time stamped. Either going in person or sending via email are fine. If you use email, send the email to at least two people at the school. Typically one is your child’s case manager, and another is the administrative designee.
Keep all these emails for at least a year, just in case.
What does all this mean, and how can it benefit your child? Give us a call.
As parents, we understand, As experienced and trained advocates, we can help.
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