Gone are the days where you aren’t sure what you are doing at the table.
Gone are the days that you feel blind-sided with the topics of discussion.
There is no more I don’t know what is happening, I’m not sure what is next.
Guys, I started this journey because I felt all of those things. I felt overwhelmed, bullied, pushed into a corner, blind sided, lost… and I worked in special education. If you haven’t read our story, head on over to my website, I’d be willing to bet some of you have similar stories of struggle.
My goal is to make sure you don’t feel the way I felt and your child doesn’t experience what my guy did.
By now, some of you have been following me for a minute and you probably can anticipate what I’m going to tell you to do first…
Ask for a draft copy before your meeting.
This is an IEP things for sure, but also applies to 504 meetings too. Ask for the evaluations, the data, any drafted goals. The IEP is a document that should be written at the table but realistically? Teachers are drafting things and working on stuff prior to your meeting. We live in a busy busy world, drafts aren’t a bad thing, it give us the chance to review everything prior to the meeting. IEP meetings are EMOTIONAL for us parents, reviewing the draft before your meeting gives you a chance to soak it all in and write down your thoughts before you are being put on the spot at the IEP meeting.
Ask for an agenda.
I LOVE when I sit down to a meeting and they hand me an agenda. I get so excited to see what the schedule of topics is. Asking for the agenda ahead of time, will prevent you from being blind sided. Want to add in services? Great, put it in the agenda. Want to discuss placement? Great put it in the agenda. If you get the agenda and you aren’t sure why you are talking about a topic, ask before you get to the table. Can you give me a few details, can you provide me with the data on why we need to talk about speech minutes?
Grab your IEP parent guide.
This free tool will help you ask the RIGHT questions when you are reviewing your documents. You can read the IEP all day long, but unless you are asking the right questions, it doesn’t matter. Grab your free copy here —>> http://eepurl.com/gkieBX
Create your parent input statement.
We recently did a live going over parent input statements and why they are important so I will keep this brief. But did you know… there is an entire section of the IEP that is just for your input? Yep. Mine was blank for years and I had no idea. This is your chance to be the expert on your child at the IEP table. Prepare this ahead of time and email it to the team. Let them know you want to add this to the IEP. You can even print it and read it at the meeting. You want to add your long term and short term goals, your concerns and any other helpful information that the team needs to know. Keep it less than a page and use bullet points if you need to. If you missed the video, you can view it here —>> https://www.facebook.com/NicoleSchlechterAdvocacy/videos/293490338598575/
Write out your questions on the IEP draft.
Prepare your questions ahead of time and type them in the notes app or write them down using old fashioned paper and pencil. I like to print the IEP draft and write my questions directly on the paper in a fun color pen so it stands out. This helps me ask my questions as the meeting goes along without having to back track at the end.
Bring a friend, second set of ears. Bring the mail man if you need to, but don’t IEP alone! I am available for 1:1 coach and that includes meeting attendance. Having a second set of ears at the meeting with you is great for support but also brings a different perspective. They may be able to ask questions you hadn’t thought of or will remember things after the meeting when you need them. Need support at an IEP meeting? LET’S WORK TOGETHER!
Take your own notes at the IEP meeting
Sometimes we need to look back into the notes to remember what was discussed having your own notes is helpful. We also want to review the IEP notes after the meeting to compare to our own account of what was discussed and decided. Email the team with any discrepancies as soon as possible for clarification.
Schedule a follow up meeting
What will communication of this new plan look like and do we need a follow meeting. Especially if we have made big changes, it may be important to discuss the progress after 6-8 weeks to see if the plan needs adjustments or is working well.
I want you all to feel confident in what you know about your child. I still have a few openings left for IEP assessments this year. Grab one now and save it for your next meeting. We will schedule a time to talk 1:1 and discuss your goals and concerns before I review your IEP or draft. Then you will get at minimum 3 ways you can adjust your childs IEP right now to make the most progress possible this year. If you are ready to maximize progress, let me know in the comments so we can get connected to work together.
Looking for the video replay? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yoZiz8vSeg