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Ask for a person trained on inclusion and adaptations to facilitate the meeting. Ask exactly what the meeting will cover "Get to know you" meetings can end up being evaluations and IEP's Talk to individual staff about what will be covered in meetings Make sure enough time is allotted Be sure there are start and finish times, and that key people will be attend entire time.
Some IEP's are broken up into several shorter meetings. For a child with significant needs, planning can take 16 hours or longer Total time should not be limited, keep rescheduling if not finished in the session's time limits Get copies of reports or evaluations that will be discussed, prior to the meeting Nothing can throw off your ability to think clearly then having people over analyze your child.
Plan to make the meeting festive, bring food, color and music Your not planning a funeral, your planning for your child's success, make it fun! Prepare a vision statement for your child's future Refer to the vision during all of your planning Write a draft version of the IEP Plan on collaborating with the team Include family, friends and others who know your child to help you prepare Decide what services, or supports etc.
At IEP meetings Never go to a Getting ahead with education alone! Take an advocate, an informed parent, family member, friend or neighbor Sometimes meetings can end up emotional, unclear or even out of compliance, Its good to have others on your side to help listen, clarify and support you If possible spouses should always attend together The child should always attend when appropriate Reschedule if the key people are not present or there are other surprises Let everyone know you asked ahead of time for this information To be productive you need the right people and information to plan Simply pick up your things and tell them to reschedule when it can be done right Begin IEP meetings by reading your child's vision statement Hand out copies of your vision, if possible include a photo This helps everyone get on the same page Goals need to be based on achieving this vision, not deficits nor life skills.
Have the facilitator write notes on large flip chart paper This way everything discussed is clear and visible to all participants.
Begin with one sheet for each area ex: Draw a vertical line and begin by listing strengths on the left Needs and goals can be listed on the right, use as many sheets as needed. Be clear in describing what you want and why You can expect more collaboration when others understand exactly what it is you are asking of them and why.
Don't just describe a service or device, tell how it will help your child learn and progress Give a clear visual picture of what you think a situation will look like with your child having this. Allow others to finish what they are saying, even if you disagree Repeat back a summary of what they said to avoid miscommunication Once they agree that you understand them, then go ahead and state your views.
Get issues out in the open Don't play mind games, get anything and everything that concerns you out on the table. Most people can't read minds, be upfront, confront the issues and be proactive.
If you think that a teacher or school doesn't want your child in the regular class, tell the team this. You'll be surprised how much relief you'll feel by getting the issues out.
Begin your statements with 'I feel", "I think" etc. Avoid arguing over issues that are not leading to planning your child's success Don't get drawn into other issues such as funding, trainingetc. Glance at this note throughout the meeting and if you find a topic isn't appropriate interrupt and ask to get back to planning for your individual child's success.
If information is overwhelming, emotional or confusing take a ten minute break. Use this time to reorganize, refresh, energize, make phone calls, collaborate with others helping you attend the meeting.
Decide if you can go on, or need to reschedule. Insist on positive language used to describe your child Parents are team members and have a right to suggest terminology used. Reports need to state what your child "can do" and then what is expected IEP's are for individuals, comparative information to others is not needed.
For evaluations have the language rephrased positively, or file a dissenting opinion. If its not in there they don't have to provide it.
If told something doesn't have to be in writing, explain, you are protecting your child's rights. IEP's must be implemented in reasonable time, usually considered 10 days, including providing assistive technology that is listed You could allow flexibility to show that you are willing to work with the team, but don't get taken advantaged of.
Have periodic planning meetings written into the IEP Plan on the front line staff, those working directly with your child, to meet regularly.
Start out with weekly meetings and if all is going well move to bi-weekly, then monthly.
Behavior plans must be a part of the IEP If a child's behavior interferes with his or her learning, a behavior plan is required Have training and supports for staff included in the IEP. Review the IEP before accepting it Be sure the goals are realistic, achievable, objective, measurable and academic in nature.
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