Sunday, September 1, 2013

How to Survive Your Child’s IEP Meeting: A 12 Point Plan

By Dr. Carla Clayton, Psy.D. from The Mobility Resource

There are many articles out there about IEPs and how to be a better advocate for your child. So I thought I would come at this topic from a different angle.

As a parent who has been through too many of these meetings, I can say I find them extremely stressful. I have a knot in my stomach for a week before the meeting and our school district is usually pretty good about meeting my children’s needs. So I am writing this for you parents that have to advocate for your child’s needs, especially when those needs aren’t crystal clear. Here are some tips to help you get through your child’s IEP without having a nervous breakdown.

1) Make a plan.

Before the meeting make a list of the things you feel are important for the IEP. Go ahead and write down your dream IEP, knowing that some of the requests may be unlikely additions. Then go through the list and number the items you feel are the most important. Choose your battles carefully surrounding your top few items. Politely give-in on number 10 on your list, but hold strong for number one.

An example of choosing my battles happened at a meeting where I felt strongly that my son needed speech therapy. The speech therapist informed me that he is capable of making the correct speech sounds, however, he just doesn’t do it. This was entirely true, but from my perspective, the fact that he was not doing it was a problem. I knew that I could fight and win for him to have speech at school, but I also knew that being pulled out for speech would put him behind in other subjects, and that I had bigger battles to fight at this meeting. Knowing that we could access outpatient speech services, I chose to give up that battle. He made remarkable progress, turns out he was capable of making the speech sounds, but just needed a little extra practice to generalize it to everyday. Now I know shower from sour, and am saved from a great deal of confusion.

Read more HERE.
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