Parents of children with disabilities don’t usually consider themselves to be superheroes… but they truly are. Here are some tips for PARENTS when coming to your child’s IEP meeting!
Here are your Top 10 Tips!
1. Share concerns. Your child’s team will want to know what your concerns are for your child and for how their needs are being met at school! We appreciate your input.
2. Generate a list of questions beforehand so you don’t forget in the meeting! Jot them down on paper or in your phone so you have them handy.
3. Bring a file of important documents. Keep them together so it’s ready if you need it! Use a file folder or even a binder to keep yourself organized.
4. When you’re not agreeing with the team’s recommendation, acknowledge everyone’s good reasons and intentions. State WHY you are suggesting the change for your child’s plan, but also be reasonable in remembering the often limited resources in the public schools. Do we want to give every child a 1:1 support system? Yes. Do we have the room in our schedules, additional personnel, and financial means to do so? Nope. We want to do the best we can with the resources we are given! All of our students deserve the best.
5. Ask questions if something is unclear. We know there is so much information and it can be overwhelming. We may use certain acronyms, labels and terms everyday—if they’re not familiar to you though, you need to ask! Be assertive in the dialogue surrounding your child’s plan.
6. Remember that you are speaking for your child. Keep in mind what is best for them, and advocate for changes as needed. We love having your child here at school, but no one knows them like you do!
7. Remember that we’re on your side! Sometimes it’s disheartening and frustrating to get negative information about your child’s academic progress, behavior, set backs, etc. We are all here with the common goal of supporting your child as best as we can. Work as a team!
8. Inform the case manager if you are bringing others to the IEP meeting. It helps us to prepare physically (copies, number of chairs, etc). Help us to be prepared!
9. Let us know if you can’t make it! We want to see you. Reschedule or do a phone conference if that works better! Having parents not show up for a meeting about their child is so disheartening. We see your child at school all week, but in order to work as a team, we need you to be informed on all of their progress!
10. Thankfulness. Remember that we are doing our best each and every day not only with YOUR child that has additional needs, but with MANY children with special needs. We are so thankful for what you are doing at home with your children, as well. If we work together, the results will truly show.