Your child’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a strategy, of sorts, for ensuring your child gets the most out of his or her education. When school starts this fall, it will be time to sit with your child’s educators, school therapists, and other school-related specialists to review the IEP and make changes as necessary. This can be a daunting task. Therefore, you should take the necessary time and energy to properly prepare. Here are some guidelines:
It’s a necessity that you read over last year’s IEP so that you completely understand any changes the team is proposing, and are able to identify areas in which your child might need some extra attention (or a change, altogether). Additionally, you should have a packet of paperwork provided to you before the meeting, including (but not limited to) Parental Rights and Responsibilities, home evaluation worksheets, school policies, and legal guidelines. The better versed you are in the IEP process, the more successful your IEP meeting will be.
Assess your Child’s Performance and needs
After reviewing your child’s IEP from last year, you should be able to determine where, on the specified goals, your child’s school performance lies. If your child is either ahead or behind in any area, that is a subject you will want to bring up at the IEP meeting. Additionally, you should compare where your child is at now with where your child was at last year, in terms of special needs and accommodations. If anything has changed, it will need to go into the new IEP.
Create a List
Before you sit down with your child’s education team, you should think about issues you want to address and questions you want to ask. Put all of these items into a list that you can go over with the appropriate team member whenever the big day arrives.
If you plan on adding any new items to your child’s IEP, then you may need to provide documentation for the request. For example, if you feel that your child would benefit from adaptive equipment in the classroom, then you will need to prove it with either a doctor’s recommendation, test scores from a qualified professional, and/or testimony of a teacher who works with your child. Although some of this documentation may be gathered through the IEP process, you should be prepared to provide your own documentation when applicable.
IEP meetings are known to cause parents a lot of stress, but they can be especially helpful, whether you’re child has specific physical needs, learning disabilities, or is even a gifted learner who will one day take the GMAT with a need for some emotional care and attention. You can browse more for information on future testing and how to start preparing your child in school so that you can ask those questions at your meetings as well. Fortunately, a lot of that stress can be diffused with proper preparation. Follow these tips to ensure that you, and your child, get the most out of this fall’s upcoming EIP meeting.
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