I know if you're like me right about now you're asking yourself, "where did summer go?" In my conversations with other families this has brought mixed emotions. Many are sad that it's back-to-school time. While others, like me, are craving to continue to get the kids back into
normalcy. I am eager to start the school year back IN school, versus the fall we dealt with last year. I'm so excited to watch my kids continue to learn and grow. But for me, part of that learning and growth isn't just about ABC's.
If you have read my previous blogs you know I have a little lady that receives services at school. Our journey with her has been a little rocky at times. I have had to fight, so to speak, to get her the services she receives. In all of this there is one thing I know for certain, she thrives off of a school routine. She loves to learn. She loves to follow the teacher rules. She is better at home on the days she is in school. For that reason, I am so excited, and hopeful, to see the growth she will encounter being back in-person starting this week.
If you are a new to the IEP world, it can be overwhelming, emotional, and intimidating. But it doesn't have to be. As school starts, here are a few tips to help you navigate the IEP process to ensure your child's accommodations are being met.
Request a Meeting: I like to request a meeting with the team at the beginning of the year to make sure everyone is on the same page with what is in the plan.
Understand Services: Make sure you understand what your child is qualified for. Then check-in periodically with the team to ensure any minutes are being met.
Involve Your Child: If you have an older child, talk to them and help them understand their accommodations, if appropriate. Example, my middle-schooler knows he is allowed to test in quieter areas if he feels he is having difficulty focusing. He can advocate for himself in those instances. For my 4-year old, I ask her if she saw a specific therapist on a given day and ask her to show me the games they played.
Build a Team: If you feel overwhelmed during this process, build a team around you. By law, you are allowed to invite anyone into the IEP meetings that you need for support. This can be an outside therapist, a pediatrician, a special needs advocate, or even your best friend. But whatever you do, never feel you are going about it alone.