June 25, 2018 |
Education & Schools
My first IEP meeting was when my oldest son was getting ready to transition to elementary school. I remember seeing a room full of people, mostly people I didn’t know. I don’t remember what we talked about. I didn’t feel part of the decision-making. I was overwhelmed.
I left there knowing that Ryan would receive a better education if I learned everything I could about the process. Over time, I became more comfortable with these meetings.
Here are some tips for making your child's education more successful:
- Consider yourself to be the professional parent. Look the part of professional parent. Dress for success. Be on time.
- You might bring a support person with you—another parent, a neighbor, even a professional advocate. You don’t have to inform the school that you are bringing someone to the meeting. But be sure to introduce your guests.
- Use positive language. Say, “My child needs…” instead of “I want...” Keep your child the focus of the meeting. If your child doesn’t attend the meeting, bring a small photo of your child to help everyone focus on him/her.
- The past is history. The meeting is about the future. This isn’t the time to bring up old issues and hurts. Make the ARD meeting a time for positive changes for your child. Compliment school personnel for their positive actions. Be willing to compromise. Try to be cheerful, appreciative, and complimentary.
- Try to work out plans in a pre-ARD conference if possible. Volunteer your expertise and assistance.
Don’t forget that you are the biggest expert on your child, and you are an important member of the education team.
Be an effective member of your child’s educational team. The Education and Schools section offers lots of information.