June 4, 2015 | By: Monica Castillo
It has been 9 years since our child’s first ARD (Admission, Review & Dismissal) meeting. Many things have changed since then, but I would have to say that we were completely unprepared at that first meeting. Nothing seemed to make sense. We were in a new district, with a new diagnosis and no idea what to do. Our first lesson on the ARD: never go in unprepared.
We began attending parent training sessions to Connect with Other Parents about autism and special education. Our regional education service center was very helpful. They offered training to help teachers and parents better understand the needs of children with autism. We participated in in-home training through our school district.
Our school district helped us attend trainings on the ARD process. They also helped us to develop supportive and productive Individual Education Program (IEPs) for our child. We received training in conflict resolution and learned how to manage our emotions in the decision making process. We gained a better understanding of the ARD process. Our child’s ARD committee grew larger and larger. We learned that what worked best for our child was keeping all of the service providers (both private and school based) involved in the planning of goals and services.
A great deal of information about resources and trainings is provided by organizations like Texas Parent to Parent, the Arc of Texas, and Region 13 Education Service Center, just to name a few. Legislative advocacy, special education law and trainings on being a strong self-advocate are offered. Other opportunities include, but are not limited to, parent conferences, online trainings, family support and transition trainings. You can search for trainings, events and groups on the Find Services, Groups & Events page of this website.
Preparing for a positive and productive ARD meeting requires training and attention to detail. It also requires a good working relationship with the child’s ARD committee. Each ARD committee member must be well informed and committed to working for each student's success. No matter where you are in your process, keep working to create and implement the best IEP for your child.