Often, we need help when preparing for our child’s Admission, Review & Dismissal (ARD) meeting. A good place to start is Texas Project FIRST. There you can find a helpful series on Developing an IEP. They also have a good article to help you with Placement Decisions.
Why do parents need to know all of this? Because YOU are your child’s best advocate. It is important to understand the special education process so that you can make good decisions for your child. To learn more, check out Special Education 101 on this site.
To be a strong advocate, you also need a support network. Your best source of support at an ARD meeting may be a friend, neighbor, or another parent of a child with a disability. Networking with other parents is the key to building a support system for you and your child. For instance, I have attended many ARD meetings for my good friend’s daughter. I am proud of her as she moves on from high school to bigger and better things. Her success is due to her parents’ determination to ensure that she was included in regular education classes as much as possible and that her important needs were met. I know they worked hard with her at home too .
Graduation can be a scary time for anyone. Her family has been preparing for this transition since she was little – I hope you are too.
It is also important to collaborate with your school as much as possible. Build good working relationships with teachers and staff. Be observant. Take note of the qualities and character of a person who works well with your child. A teacher that works well with my son may not work well with your child because every kid’s needs are different….and every parent’s expectations are different. Think about the characteristics of teachers who have worked well with your child, and make sure to tell the ARD Committee what that looks like. More important, remember to thank all those teachers and support staff who worked hard to help our kids reach their goals this year.
By learning more, finding people to support you, and working with schools, you can speak up and ensure your child’s needs are met!