Thursday, October 4, 2012

31 for 21, 2012: #4 Tiffany's Top Ten Tips for IEPs

Make a list.

PLAN for your child's IEP.  Make a list of things you want to ask, ask for, or challenge.  That way you won't forget no matter where your child's teacher tries to take the meeting.

Ask friends in the same school system.  Ask other parents of your child's friends.  Ask parents of older children.  Google.  Search.  Read articles.  Post on special needs boards, nationwide as well as locally.

And when you feel soggy and saturated with brilliant information:

Number your requests.
Star those that you will NOT leave without.
Bullet those you would like.
And add cherries that would make you happy, but aren't that important.

Then ask for them ALL.  And if you get it all, you have an amazing school system, or you didn't ask for enough (take notes for next year).  If you don't get it all, you have demonstrated that you are willing to negotiate and compromise.  If you have to throw down and fight, you have a hierarchy of what's worth it, and you won't get caught up in the emotion of the moment.

I'm sure you've heard stories about people in battle or fights who start shooting, or hacking, or hitting, or whatever, who literally lose the ability to determine who are their friends and who are their enemies...or who put themselves at risk in a mad rush at the enemy that then leaves them cut off from supplies or support? 

This can happen in IEPs.

You can start swinging because of the right things, but end up damaging your credibility and your child's education because you got caught up about winning, and not your child...notes protect you...  Consider it your battle plan, and try not to diverge without good reason.

I'm definitely NOT saying that there aren't things worth going down fighting for...I'm just saying make sure you know what's worth it.

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