• Sharon Starkey

Advocating for Your Child in School in an IEP Meeting Part 3

What should you bring to an IEP meeting?

The IEP meeting can be very stressful. For this reason, I have found it easier if I keep a binder or a file folder for all of my child’s information. For years, I never had all the information I needed because I had it in separate places. I learned the hard way to create a system where I could keep everything together in one place. Some people use a binder, others use folders. Use whatever works best for you. I chose to use a colored file system which I then put into a binder.

What did I keep in my binder?

• A list of questions I wanted to ask

• Copies of the current IEP

• Report Cards

• Weekly behavior reports

• Private evaluations from providers

• A list of my child’s strengths and weaknesses

• Samples of work

• A list of what seems to be working and what isn’t working

• Print outs of school correspondence

• Extra paper and pens and a notebook

• Any notes from outside providers OT, PT, Speech, ABA

What else do I bring?

• An advocate, friend or colleague

• A bottle of water

• Snack or gum

• A picture of my child

• A positive attitude

Having all these things together and ready makes the meeting a lot less stressful. It is also important to remember to stay calm and not raise your voice. If you need a break, ask for one. The key to a successful meeting is being prepared, knowing your rights and communicating effectively.

There are several great resources for more information:

Peak Parent Center (www.peakparent.org) offers a workshop series during the school year. You can find archived webinars at (http://peakparent.org/events/recorded_webinars).

Wrightslaw offers workshops, publications and an information page. This is an excellent resource for learning your rights. (https://www.wrightslaw.com/)

Understood has tons of articles on school and learning. (https://www.understood.org/pages/en/families/school-learning/).

The Arc of the Pikes Peak Region offers free advocates for K-12. (https://www.thearcppr.org/advocacy/). They also provide a workshop series for parents and professionals that goes in depth on how an IEP should be written. Everything I have learned over the years has come from attending these workshops and using these resources plus a lot of practice.

I wish you luck on your journey. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions.

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