It's that time again, and Parents everywhere are scrambling to get out of summer mode and back into school mode. If you have a child who receives special education, you have the added pressures that come with trying to make sure all services are in place when school starts. Here are a few tips to make it a little bit easier on yourself:
CHECK IN WITH THE ADMIN
1. Look at your child's last IEP, and find who the administrator for that IEP was on the sign in sheet. Call that person a week ahead of the first day of school and have them assure you that all services are in place. If you have questions about where to go or what to do for placement, they should be able to either answer you or point you in the direction of someone who can.
GO TO THAT IEP MEETING
2. If the school district wants to hold an IEP meeting at the beginning of school, GO! Many times, parents do not want to go through the rigors of an IEP meeting that early, but this is a great opportunity for you as a parent to be able to discuss any and all IEP-related issues early in the school year.
GIVE THE SCHOOL THE NEW INFO
3. If your child has any new diagnoses, medications, or services providers they gained over the summer, provide a list of all to the person in charge of your IEP or in charge of special education at your school immediately.
TAKE THE INITIATIVE
4. At the end of last school year, did someone tell you, "Well, the end of the year is coming up so we'll address that at the beginning of next school year." OK, guess what? THAT'S NOW! Any time after the first day of school, bring it up with whomever told you to wait. Submit a request in writing for an IEP meeting to discuss the issues immediately. Don't wait for the school district to address it on their own.
MAKE YOUR REQUESTS
5. If you want evaluations, changes made, additional services, different services, etc., don't wait to ask! Legal timelines give the school district time to consider your requests, but not until you make them. Submit formal written requests to your admin or the person in charge of special education immediately, and they can use their 2 week timeline to reply.
STICK WITH IT, YOU'RE DOING GREAT
6. If you're making that effort to be an active advocate for your little one, you're doing great! Keep it up! If you feel like you have questions, or need help, call us at (626) 765-9607 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.