How to get the best IEP (part Two)
I always advise people to get a ‘full’ IEP, this will cover you in the future. If you only get speech services on the written IEP, you will need to meet in the future for another IEP to be written before they will offer help with other services.
What if I work and the IEP is scheduled for the morning?
In my state the IEP meeting must be done at the parent’s convenience, meaning if you work they will need to change it to a time when you are off work. Keep in mind if you schedule it as soon after school is out of session, this will allow for a more receptive meeting.
What if they refuse to write an IEP?
If the school is refusing make sure you have in writing along with the reason. Talk to the Special Education Department if the letter is written by another source. If that is not the case then check with your state education department to find out how to proceed.
My child’s IEP has goals that are too difficult for my child.
Keep in mind this is a plan that will span an entire year or more, and can be repeated onto the following IEP. If you feel your child will not be able to begin to master this goal, ask if it can be broken down into smaller steps so your child will succeed. If the goal wants the child to choose between seven different activities, see if it could be written as two activities with more added as the grading periods proceed; or ask that the choice between two be written with increasing percentages at each grading period.
Make sure the goals are agreeable and doable before you sign the papers. If needed you can request to take a copy home and look it over before signing.
I feel forced into agreeing with the IEP goals.
Don’t let yourself feel bullied. At one meeting I found myself around a table of about eight school officials and felt very intimidated. After that I took someone with me for several years. One therapist stood up and demanded I choose to dress my child according to her ideas. I refused and she just about shot out of her seat. My friend who sat by my side, interceded by saying very firmly “I believe ‘Mom’ has said no”. End of conversation. If you feel intimidated, excuse yourself and reschedule at a time when you can have support in the meeting.
Remember why you are there.
You are there to orchestrate a better way of educating your child. His/her disabilities need to be properly and realistically addressed in the IEP. Don’t allow the IEP to state goals that are far under or over your child’s ability but keep in mind the goals are for stretching their abilities.
If your child is in a wheelchair and cannot talk or move independently, you may want to avoid goals that expect brushing their teeth on their own or dressing themselves. A better goal might be to choose between two activities by pressing the proper button which has a picture of the activity next to it.
You are in the meeting to add substance and meaning to the educational plan. You may need to impress them with the reality of who your child is so the goals are realistic and encouraging to your child.
If you realize after the meeting that something was left out, ask yourself if this was something important or can it be done next time? If it can wait be sure to write it on your list for the future IEP.
Also if you see your child progressing rapidly through the IEP you may need to reschedule another meeting to re-write the document and make it more workable for your child.
If this or any other post has helped you, please let me know in the comments section below, or if you need clarification or think I missed passing on more information please let me know. Thanks and have a great week!