The special-ed meeting

April 07, 1999|By Susan Rapp | Susan Rapp,Village Reading Center

This is the time of year when many parents are preparing for a conference to review their child's special-education program. Often they may feel some apprehension about discussing their child's Individualized Education Program (IEP), but parents' insight into and knowledge of their child is an essential part of this process.

Here are some suggestions about gathering and reviewing information so that you can actively participate. Some tips are from the Winter 1999 newsletter ParenTalk, published by Parent's Place of Maryland (410-712-0900).

Before the Meeting

Study your child's records, including assessment reports, medical records, previous IEPs, progress notes, report cards, etc.

Organize these papers into a three-ring binder under each heading.

On your child's current IEP, indicate the goals you believe have at least partially been attained, and those that have not.

Make a list of your child's strengths and weaknesses in these areas, adding any others you feel are important:

* Academic skills

* Developmental skills

* Language skills

* Emotional/behavioral skills

List any accommodations you think your child will need, such as extra time for tests or a calculator.

Call ahead and ask how much time will be allotted for the meeting and request more time if you think it's needed.

Plan to have someone attend the meeting with you as an "objective" listener.

An informative resource about this process is "Negotiating the Special Education Maze: A Guide for Parents and Teachers" by Winfred Anderson, Stephen Chitwood and Deidre Hayden.

At the Meeting

Bring paper and pen to take notes.

Ask your most important questions first, just in case time runs out.

Ask for specific suggestions to help your child do better so that you can make a plan of action.

Ask for explanations about anything you don't understand.

Pub Date: 04/07/99

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