The school year just recently kicked off. Here are some tips so that your special needs child can have a successful school year.
- PRINT OUT ENTIRE IEP FROM THE LAST ACADEMIC SCHOOL YEAR.
For each teacher, highlight his/her particular area of support in the service delivery grid. Taking this extra step will clarify your expectations for your child’s teacher and make sure everyone on the team is on the same page.
- BE SURE TO REREAD YOUR CHILD’S IEP.
A lot can happen over the summer, thus, it is absolutely critical that you fully understand the IEP for your special needs child and you are clear on the services that he/she is receiving. It is often the case that what you think your child is receiving for services is not accurately portrayed in the IEP.At the very least, reread the service delivery grid before meeting your child’s homeroom teacher. The purposes of rereading the service delivery grid and the IEP is so that your child’s services and accommodations are at the top of your mind for meeting any teachers thereby avoiding any nerves you may have as your child’s advocate.
- CLEAN OUT YOUR BINDER.
It is critical for a parent of a special needs child to keep accurate records because without appropriate documentation your child will not receive the services he/she is entitled to. When reviewing a special education file, remember the last two years of medical documentation are the most important.However, prior medical documentation can provide context. That being said, when organizing your binder place the most recent reports at the beginning in order to ensure that they are easily accessible.
- INTRODUCTION LETTER.
Consider writing an introduction letter to your child’s teachers. In the letter, lay out all your concerns for the upcoming school year and provide potential solutions.Additionally, list contact information for your child’s medical providers and any health, behavior, or provider changes not listed in the IEP. At the end of the letter, provide a ͞bridge the gap͟ sentence, such as ͞Please let us know how we can best bridge the gap between our son/ daughter’s learning at school between curriculum learned at school and skills the school provides to be generalized in the community.
- TRY TO MOVE PAST LAST YEAR.
Special education involves multiple personalities and competing interests and at the center of this dynamic meeting is the child. Instead of getting caught up in the personality conflicts, remember that this year is a new year.That’s not to say that you cannot hold the school’s feet to the fire and hold the school accountable for things that they have not done or should have done. However, whenever possible try to start the new year as positive as possible with a new approach and open communication.
HAVE A GREAT SCHOOL YEAR!