The lazy days of summer will soon be over and whether your child goes back to school in August or September; you should pull your child’s most recent Individualized Education program (IEP) and take the time to read it from cover to cover. Now is a good time to familiarize yourself with all of your child’s disability, goals, accommodations, class placement, etc….in order to make sure your child’s IEP is implemented correctly in the upcoming fall semester. It’s important to be familiar in advance so that you are able to begin tracking your child’s services at the beginning of the first semester, instead of finding out sometime in December your school is out of compliance with your child’s IEP. Also, if you have an IEP meeting coming up in the first semester to discuss amending the current one, now is a good time to write a list of concerns that you have. You can always add to it when the school year begins, this way you are prepared to have a productive meeting when the time comes.
For all of those parents who are new to the IEP world, it’s difficult to understand all the new terminology in your first meeting…..so now is a good time to look up all those definitions and acronyms that were unfamiliar to you. Start educating yourself on your child’s disability and what measures are being taken to help your child access the curriculum in school. For example, if your child has or will be given an aide, make sure you are aware of type and how many hours your child is supposed to receive. Or, if your child is supposed to be receiving resource hours with a special education teacher, make sure you know how many hours per week, whether it’s in class or pull out and what subject is being covered during that time.
If you are having trouble understanding the assessments that you were given in your last IEP, try to find a local parent training center or possibly your HMO to help explain the results. For example, Kaiser Permanente has an office that will help parents understand the meaning of the assessments.
As I have said in the past, your child’s IEP is a legally binding contract with the school district that you signed, therefore, agreed to. So as your child’s advocate, you need to make sure your child is receiving the services that have been agreed to by your school district. Always remember, no one can advocate for your child better than you!!!