Any child that has special needs, whether physical, developmental, or educational, they should have an individualized educational plan or IEP. If your child qualifies for disability services, you should request having someone go with you to your IEP meeting so that you have a professional that has worked with your child able to help advocate for their needs so that there is no question as to how or why they should have it-- even if the school doesn't like it. If you have requested an IEP for your child, here are some things you should consider before heading into your meeting, according to ADDitude Magazine. Being prepared will make it less likely that you will be thrown off, or don't have appropriate documentation or an answer for one of the questions asked of you. Setting up an IEP can be frustrating as the team responsible doesn't know the issues your child has.
- Read over the IEP or 504 notice that the school sends you so that you know who will be attending the meeting. This is very important as not all the key players that should be there are. Knowing who is attending, their background, and how they will be interacting with your child is very important.
- Ask the school for copies of all your students files from every department of the school. This will give you an in-depth look into how your child has been doing with their previous IEP or 504 plan and if it has been followed through. Sometimes teachers and people that work your child don't follow through with the IEP or some things need to be changed to care for your child's changing educational, or physical needs.
- Make sure that you bring in all paperwork from tutors, doctors, educators, therapists, and others that work with your child outside of school. Make sure that you bring all of these with you as they could be very important in changing your child's IEP or 504 plan or establishing new supports.
- Make a list of your child's strengths and what you would like your child to learn during the school year. Also include a list of supports that work best for your child at home. If any of them are reasonable, such as using a computer so that your child's handwriting is legible, demand it and don't take "no" for an answer. Make copies of all your lists and paperwork for every member of your IEP meeting.
- If you would like to record the meeting, be sure to disclose the fact that you plan to do so before hand. This gives you two different forms of representation in the event that you have to request a second meeting.
- Discuss any supports that the school needs to provide for your student including therapies, special classes, and for how many minutes per session, and how many sessions they should happen.
- If you child is only going to be taking the classes required for a degree, stand firm by your decision and make it clear why this is important. Some schools will refuse, but it is your right to request that you child only take courses that go toward their degree.
Once your child's IEP is in place, make sure that the school follows through with the plan. Make yourself available for a support or to ask questions if needed. Now that your child has an IEP, request frequent reports and check in so that everyone is on the same page.