It is the beginning of a new school year and parents everywhere have participated in crowding local stores for the usual “Back to School” shopping spree. For parents with children with special needs the beginning of a new school year looks a bit different.
For some parents, the beginning of the school year is already kicking off with an IEP meeting that you have been waiting to schedule all summer. And others have a few months to plan for their child’s IEP meeting. Regardless, as a parent you must prepare for the IEP meeting. Here are some tips for getting ready for your child’s IEP meeting:
First, be sure to request your child’s school records, particularly any evaluations, progress reports, and proposed goals and objectives well in advance of the IEP meeting. These documents can be cumbersome and you will need sufficient time to review all the details and have time to dissect the information provided to you. I would recommend requesting that the documents be provided to you three to five days prior to the IEP meeting.
Second, whenever possible, consult with your outside community providers regarding the information provided to you. It is important to get their input on the results of the evaluations and any proposed goals and objectives. It is completely appropriate for you to get a second opinion from the experts who know your child best.
Third, organize your child’s education records well in a binder for you to quickly access information that may be relevant to the decision-making process at an IEP meeting. It is a new school year so, this means a new binder with contemporary information about your child’s education. This binder will come in handy when preparing for an IEP meeting or when discussing your case with your special education attorney.
Our firm helps parents to prepare for IEP meetings by conducting a comprehensive records review. We also often attend IEP meetings on your child’s behalf to ensure your child’s IEP complies with the IDEA.