I would personally admit that one of the most complicated and challenging aspects of raising a child with special healthcare needs has been the transition to school. My son, Isaac started kindergarten this past fall. Not only was this a time of transition for our family, it was a very emotional time for me as well. I knew how important it was to ensure that his Individualized Education Plan (IEP) was written to provide specific accommodations and modifications to help him meet his academic goals. Fortunately, I was able to CONNECT with several super savvy parents that helped me navigate these new waters. My biggest take-a-way is understanding that I am a key player on the IEP team. I have knowledge, understanding, and perspective of my child that no one else does.
I quickly realized how important it is to have good communication with the IEP team. I suggest that parents inquire about how school professionals would like to be contacted about questions and concerns at the start of the school year. I have found that email correspondence seems to work well for me, because I save correspondence in a specified folder in my inbox in case I ever need to go back and review something.
During our first IEP meeting, I took lots of notes. I wrote down details of the items we discussed and how the team felt things should look going forward. That night, I sent a follow up email to the IEP team thanking them for their time, the great discussion and input, and their hard work and dedication to help Isaac have a great and successful school year. I then provided a quick re-cap of the things we discussed and my understanding of the changes that were proposed in the meeting. This follow up email was a simple step that helped close the communication between myself and the school team.
Here are 8 additional tips for better IEP meetings:
Written by: Jessica Randall, Northwest Region Parent Support Navigator