I had no idea what the Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) meeting was or what was going to be taking place at the meeting. I felt out of place and uncomfortable. After I left the first meeting, I sat in my car and cried for several minutes. I felt overwhelmed by all the information that was thrown at me.
Luckily, my son had an amazing case manager. She sat down with me and explained the process and my rights. She helped me prepare for the next meeting and she also went with me. Here is how I prepared.
The first thing I did was to make sure the date and time of the meeting was good for me. I did not want to be in a hurry to get back to work or worry about picking up another child from school.
I read over all the information that was sent home. I wrote down questions, concerns, and anything else that I didn’t feel was accurate. I went through any paperwork or findings from other doctors or agencies that I had. I had test results from a specialist showing my son had a vision problem that the school kept denying him. I brought the documents along to the meeting.
I organized all my paperwork and information and put it in order. I used a three-ring binder with page protectors and dividers.
I like to write down the things my son is doing well and the positive things he is doing. I presented that at the ARD. It helps to remind everyone that our children are more than the disabilities listed on the paper.
I now bring someone with me to the ARD who knows my child and family. It helps to have a second pair of ears.
I easily feel intimidated, so I read as many books, pamphlets, and articles as I could get my hands on. I also dressed nicely—not my normal sweatpants and t-shirt. (And I made sure to wear waterproof mascara.) Once I start crying, it doesn’t stop. I put a package of tissue in my purse just in case.
The second ARD went better.
With each one, my knowledge and confidence have grown. There have been some difficult ARDs where the school and I did not see eye to eye. But we were able to work together for the best outcome for my son.
There are many benefits to bringing a friend or companion to your child’s IEP meetings.
Categories: Education & Schools