Creating New Year’s Resolutions that will Positively Impact Your Child’s School Future
Dec 26, 2017 | By: ADINA RICH
With the holiday season fast becoming a ghost of Christmas past, it is natural to turn to New Year’s Resolutions and how to improve the coming year. Many resolutions are hard to keep. Yet, as an Educational Advocate, I will suggest some that I think are very important. First, don’t be afraid to be a visible presence in your child’s ARD/IEP meeting. Many parents are scared to speak on behalf of their child for fear that they will alienate the school. However, it is critical that you understand the school’s recommendations and read the fine print, starting with the meeting notice. Often parents are surprised when they go into a meeting to see other service providers, special ed support staff, transportation staff, or even Special Education supervisors or school attorneys. Do not assume that the professionals will take care of things without the benefit of a discussion. I believe that generally schools appreciate families, but they often get stuck in a rut and are not always forthcoming about options when discussing services. Don’t underatand the evaluation? Ask them to explain the evaluation and interpret their findings. Do not be afraid to ask questions or for clarification of points or services. Do not hesitate to offer your opinion or alternative that you think might work better. Be careful that wording of services and minutes of the meeting accurately reflect all discussion points and that the school adds your concerns and comments. Many parents are told that taping is adversarial, but taping allows you to review points at home when you are not in an intimidating environment. It also gives you a reference point if you ever need to consult an advocate or an attorney or even just to file a complaint. Do not feel pushed to sign or agree to something just to finish. Accommodations and IEP supplements are very important. If it is not listed, then it just does not exist. School staff may assure you something will get done but without putting it in writing and having target dates for completion, it is less likely to happen. Don’t leave the meeting without reviewing the minutes or getting a copy of the document if you feel that you need it. If the school has not allotted enough time to address your concerns, recess the meeting and reschedule it at a more convenient time. Above all, when in doubt, ask for help. That is what we are here for. We offer SKYPE consults, email, and fax options. We can and often do attend meetings with our families. This is your child. This is their future. There are no limits to his or her potential. Happy New Year!!