ARD meetings are not among most parents’ favorite activities. They may seem too formal or intimidating. They might even frighten a parent. One way to make these important meetings easier is to plan for your child’s meeting. Start at least a month or so in advance to make planning easier. Here are some suggestions of things to do before an ARD meeting.
- Be familiar with the laws.
Have there been any changes? The State of Texas has a side-by-side document comparing state and federal laws. You may download this document at http://framework.esc18.net/documents/Side_by_Side.pdf.
- Reflect on progress. Ask yourself how the past year went for your child. Did your child receive accommodations in the classroom? Do their grades reflect adequate progress toward annual goals? Also, encourage your child to attend their ARD meeting. Attending these meetings can be an early step toward self-advocacy.
- Prepare a report about your child. This can be helpful if you need to share information with the ARD Committee. Include things you are comfortable sharing such as positive progress at home, doctors’ reports that might impact your child’s learning, outside therapy information, concerns about home behaviors, and the successful ways you address them.
- Send the teacher your suggestions for your child’s program in advance. A month or so before the meeting, send the teacher goals for your child. What skills do you want your child to learn? What are your concerns, both academically and behaviorally? Are there worries about your child’s home behaviors that might be addressed with the school’s help? What do you see as your child’s strengths and areas of concern?
- Make sure the meeting is scheduled for a time that works for you. If you have younger children at home, schedule a friend or family member to babysit. This will help you concentrate on the important ARD meeting. Make sure to be on time for the meeting. Take all needed paperwork in a binder if possible. Dress for success. (I always wore red!)
Pre-planning for your child’s ARD makes you an effective advocate for your child’s educational process. Walk in with confidence, knowing that you are the expert on your child. Know too that your participation is key as your child navigates their school career.
Find more information about ARD meetings in Education and Schools.