As a parent, you know your child better than anyone. You understand his or her needs, know what motivates him or her, and you can identify issues that you need to resolve. This is why you are one of the most important and effective advocates your child will have in his or her education. If your child requires special assistance in school due to physical or mental limitations, your student has the right to assistance through the special education program.
A critical component of your child’s education is the Individualized Education Program, known as the IEP. This is a document that outlines what a child needs for success in the classroom, which may include a range of accommodations and more. The first step to securing an IEP is an evaluation done with certain types of professionals. After this assessment, you will discuss your child’s IEP with the team, and it is helpful to be prepared for this conversation.
An effective meeting
Discussing and understanding your child’s IEP will help you be a better advocate for your child and help you fight for the full amount of support and assistance he or she needs. The IEP team consists of you, your child’s teachers, special education provider, agency representatives and others. During this meeting, the professionals who assessed your child will discuss their conclusions, and they will explain the details they included in the IEP. Your child’s teacher may also provide insight regarding what he or she believes is important for the student’s success in the classroom.
During this meeting, you can express concerns you have regarding your child’s education, and you can ask questions as well. You can also discuss specific issues you have noticed and ask for things that you believe will be useful for your child. The intent of these meetings is to work together as the parent and the educational team to ensure that your child has a full and fair educational experience.
What if there are problems?
You may find that the IEP team is uncooperative or that they do not address your concerns. After the implementation of the IEP, you may find that a California school is not adhering to the terms in it. In these situations, you may benefit from having professional guidance from someone who can fight for the protection of your legal rights and the educational rights of your special education student. These can be difficult issues to resolve, but you do not have to navigate these challenges alone.