4 Proactive Dragon Slaying Tips for IEP Meetings, to Empower Your Advocacy!

Are you the parent of a child with Autism, or another disability who receives special education services? Do you become overwhelmed during the IEP process, and would like to learn a few tips to help you? Are you tired of the lies and deceptions being told to you by special educators? Then this is the article for you—4 proactive advocacy tips (dragon slaying tips) to empower you in IEP meetings and afterward!

1. Try and see if you can have a friend or relative attend the meeting with you (bring someone who knows how to write fast and take good notes). This is for a couple of reasons: a. the person can take in-depth notes about what is being said and who is saying it, and b. the person can be a witness in the future, if a dispute develops between yourself and special education professionals.

2. Tape record the meeting so that you can listen to the tape after the meeting, and fill in your notes (in case you missed something). Also, CD’s of IEP meetings may be used in due process hearings (if allowed by your state).

3. Bring a written list of issues that need to be discussed (do not forget to add items from an independent educational evaluation (IEE). By the issue write yes or no and leave a little bit of space. This way you can document if the school agrees to provide the service or not, and jot down specific things that they say during the meeting (don’t forget to add who said it).

4. Write an IEP summary letter after the meeting (do not forget to date the letter and sign it also), documenting what happened during the meeting. You should include discussions not in the notes, special education professional’s attitudes, and specific comments made by staff (to include their names). I have begun doing this recently in my advocacy and find it very helpful because I can include things not in the IEP document that should be—-but now the letter is in the child’s educational record!

Recently at the end of a meeting one of the school staff said something that would help the parents in their quest for their son to receive scientifically research based reading instruction. I immediately grabbed a piece of paper and wrote down what was said and who said it (the mother gave me funny looks because she did not know what was said or that I was writing it down). In the IEP summary letter I put this information and I believe that it was helpful in my advocacy! When the school answered the letter, they never mentioned what was said, or denied that the educator said it, so I was home free! Always document when special education professionals say something that can support your advocacy!

Good luck—remember your child is depending on you!

Top Special Educational Advocacy Tips for Parents

Most parents who have a child with special needs want to home school their child. They choose to do so in order to keep their child safe from peer pressure and close to themselves, for their child’s safety. This can be a daunting process, if you choose to educate your child yourself. However, it is not insurmountable. Check out the following steps that can make the process easier:

1. Know what suits your child best

You as a parent know the best for your child. If you feel that your child has a certain disability, you can help them cope with it. You understand your child best so you decide better what can help them learn. You can use different visuals, cues and other fun learning ways to educate your child.

2. Use letters to communicate important matters

Communication through email or telephone doesn’t work really well. Letters help you keep track of the entire history of communication. You may need to look back at your child’s documents later in case you fall into a disagreement with the educational advocate. You may create “minutes of the meeting” and send a copy to the personnel later, in case you have a face-to-face conversation.

3. Ask the educational advocate if you feel something is wrong

Your child’s advocate may suggest something that you may disagree with. You have all the right to ask for the details about the policy regarding that matter. It is important that all parents know about the policies for children with special needs. If need be, you can also ask for proof of the policy that your child’s advocate may suggest, for the benefit of your child.

4. Know the special education and disability laws in your state

It is important that you know all the laws related to special education and disabilities. This is important for your child’s education and future. You can avoid going misinformed by the special education personnel. The personnel may not communicate important matters that can affect your child’s education process.

5. Know the rights that your child has under special educational services

It is essential to know what sort of special care and service your child is entitled to. You can talk to your child’s advocate; do some self-research too, in order to provide the best education for your child. Educational advocacy services are of great help, as they make sure your child’s needs are fulfilled and your child receives proper education.