Fifteen years ago, we had no voice …. and didn’t even know we needed one! Boy, were we wrong! Not knowing the IEP process, the verbiage, or our rights (in the Procedural Safeguards) was a detriment. But that is hindsight!
Over these last 15 years, I have researched and learned much …. on the federal IDEA law, our state & district statutes/policies, and on “our” specific disabilities. My voice to advocate was born through all of this!
As the new school year begins, there is much to be nervous about! Not only for the “newness” of everything in school, but also the IEP and its implementation. Are you prepared????
Now is the time to begin planning and organizing for the upcoming year. Start by reviewing your child’s IEP, progress report and report card from June; if you have FSA results, review them also. Make a list of your concerns from the documentation. (As you read the progress report, you should “see” whether your child is progressing or not. You may need to sift through the adjectives or percentages used for each goal). Make a list of all your current concerns, apart from the reports.
Since it is the beginning of the school year, you can request an IEP meeting rather than wait for the “review” date that is listed on the IEP. You will want to put this request in writing – in an email – so that you have a “paper trail”. The schools should keep track of the review date as well as the triennial evaluations, but as we all know, sometimes things fall through the cracks. Stay on top of it all! Remember: that is part of YOUR job to stay on top of this.
(Continued on page 2)