Before the Meeting: What You Should Do
- Read your IEP or 504 Plan notice from the school to see what will be discussed and who will attend.
- Be sure enough time is allowed to discuss key issues.
- Ask the school for copies of all of your child's school records, from any and all locations.
- Gather any reports you have from outside therapists, tutors, consultants, or doctors.
- Make a list of your child's strengths and talents and make copies to hand out.
- Make a list of things you would like your child to learn during the school year. Review the lists and highlight the four or five things you think are most important for your child. These will be the basis for developing the IEP goals and objectives during the IEP/504 meeting.
- List your child's areas of function that would improve with technology.
- Make extra copies of each list to bring to the meeting.
- Determine whom you will bring to the IEP/504 meeting to be your support and/or advocate.
- Determine whether you want to meet with the teacher(s) or diagnostician before the IEP/504 meeting to review assessment results.
- If you want to tape-record the IEP/504 meeting, make sure to disclose in advance that you will be doing so.
During the Meeting: What You Should Expect
- A statement of progress your child has made on previous IEP/504 objectives (if this is not an initial meeting).
- Information about current educational performance and how the disability affects the child's involvement and progress in the general curriculum.
- Measurable annual goals and short-term objectives or benchmarks for annual goals.
- A detailed method for measuring progress toward goals and objectives and how and when progress will be reported to you.
- The special education and related services to be provided.
- Positive behavior strategies or a behavior intervention plan, if needed.
- Modifications of the general curriculum your child needs to participate in the same learning activities as other students his age.
- Supplementary aids or services your child needs to participate in regular education classes and activities.
- Supports to be provided for school personnel.
- Specifics about instructional and related services, including date to begin, minutes per session, frequency of sessions, location, and position of person providing each service in the IEP/504 Plan.
- Which special materials, equipment, resources and/or assistive technology are needed, and when these will be made available.
- A statement of any academic or extracurricular activity in which your child will not participate with non-disabled students, and the reasons why.
- Which accommodations your child needs to take the state assessment test, or a determination that the child will take a specific state-developed alternative assessment or a locally-determined alternative assessment.
- Goals and objectives for an extended school year, if appropriate.
- Signatures of the IEP/504 committee members and statements of agreement or disagreement with parts of the IEP/504 Plan.
After the Meeting: What Parents Should Do
Now that the IEP/504 meeting has been completed, you want to make sure that the IEP is implemented and your teen is progressing in the general curriculum according to the plan. Here are some of the ways parents can stay involved to ensure implementation:
- Become a support member of your child's team.
- Stay actively involved and offer to help.
- Give positive feedback to teachers and administrators about things that work well for your child during the school year.
- Become involved and visible by volunteering in the classroom, library, or other school program; attend school functions; join the PTA and participate in site-based management teams, meetings, and special events.
- Communicate regularly with teachers throughout the year (leaving messages in your child's notebooks, making phone calls, sending e-mails, attending meetings and conferences).
- Share articles and resources of interest with teachers and other school personnel.
- Attend joint training sessions with school staff.
- Review your child's IEP/504 Plan often, and your child's regular progress reports. Bring questions, concerns, and/or praise to parent/teacher meetings.
- Know who is responsible for providing copies of the IEP/504 Plan to the teachers who are working with your child, and check to see that they have received copies of the document.
- Remember that IEP/504s must be reviewed at least once a year, but may be revised by the team at any time.
This article appears in the Fall issue of ADDitude.
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