During The IEP Meeting
- A Child Can Qualify For An IEP and Services Even If They Have Excellent Grades: The U.S. Dept. of Education has ruled that “…the term ‘educational performance’ as used in the IDEA and its implementing regulations is not limited to academic performance. Therefore, IDEA and the regulations clearly establish the determination about whether a child is a child with a disability is NOT limited to information about the child’s academic performance.
- If you don’t want to sign the IEP: You may not be able to make a comfortable decision while you’re in the meeting. If this is the case, you do not have to sign the IEP, and ask to have a few days to take everything into consideration. Or, you can sign the IEP and write next to your name, “Parent signs for attendance purposes only.” I recommend you get in the practice of doing this for all your IEP’s, even those you agree with.
- Before Giving Permission to the School to Contact Your Child’s Medical Professionals: Many times the school will present you with forms for you to sign giving them permission to contact your child’s pediatrician, specialists, or therapists. They may tell you that they would like to talk to these professionals to better understand your child’s diagnosis, behavior, or therapy care plan. Their intent to help is genuine, but when you give others permission to talk to medical caregivers, you could be giving them permission to get information you really don’t want them to have. Here are a few real life examples:
When one mom gave her permission, the school personnel called the psychologist to get information about the child. During the discussion, the doctor told the principal that he felt the “mom needed psychiatric help herself.” Yikes!
In another situation, the mom gave permission for the school to get information, but only in one subject area. Well, the receptionist who answered the phone was so glad to be able to help, that when she opened the child’s medical file, she started reading everything in the file – including the child’s drug history that the mom did not want the school to know about!
Yes, what the doctor and receptionist said was wrong on so many levels, but the fact is this stuff happens. So what should you do? Do not sign the forms. Instead, tell the school to give you a list of the information they want, and YOU will contact the doctors and get the information for them. When you get the documents, you can review them before you turn them over to the school and you stay in control.
- What To Do If You’re Not Sure the Therapist is Seeing Your Child At School As Frequently As Required: As the child’s parent, you have a right to copies of any documents and notes concerning your child. Ask for a copy of the therapist’s treatment notes. A therapist is required to keep a daily log of when she treats a child, the length of the session, what she worked on and the results.
- What To Do If The School Wants to Take Something Off Your Child’s IEP: First of all, try to stop hyperventilating and remain calm! If the IEP team wants to remove a service, such as speech, OT, reading assistance, or a goal off the IEP, it must be because your child has mastered the skill! After all, what other reason is there for removing it from the IEP? In my mind, that is the ONLY REASON for removing something off the IEP.
Before you allow it to be removed, ask for documentation to be provided that shows your child mastered the skill. The only documentation that is impartial is an evaluation and testing data. Anything else is personal opinion and it may not be accurate. Ask to see the evaluation results that show your child mastered the skill. If the data cannot be produced, then ask for the evaluation to be done to demonstrate skill mastery. In the meantime, the service stays on the IEP. If the school personnel refuse to do the evaluation, then ask them to write down the reason they are refusing to do it and have them sign it. Pursue a complaint to the school district ESE Director and/or your state’s Department of Education.
At your next IEP meeting, when the proof of mastery has been presented, then the service can be removed. If mastery is not achieved, then the service should stay on the IEP.
Pam Lindemann, The IEP Advocate, is a private educational advocacy organization. With our experienced IEP advocates on your side, you can rest assured you’ll be developing the best possible program for your child. Call: 407-342-9836 or email: Info@theIEPAdvocate.com
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