My child just got an IEP (individualized education plan) and is in a new school this year. What do i do???

4 Sep

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Is your child starting a new school?  If so, you most likely are feeling a certain amount of anxiety, as is your child if he or she is old enough to understand what this means for them.

BE AN ADVOCATE

Ensure that your child does not fall through the cracks….

You might think something like …what are the teachers going to be like?  will my child like his or her teacher and will they make friends at the school?  You are probably wondering when the services that are authorized will start.  Well – here is news for you they may not start on time unless you stay involved.  This is not to put down anyone who might an administrator or teacher in any one school – but things sometimes happen, especially in a large educational system – like the public school system.  You  a tremendous help and partner in making sure that your child gets help.  Here are some quick suggestions for you to keep in mind.

Having worked in schools; with the professional hat on (so to speak), i can give you some advice. Some schools do not see the paperwork for students who have an IEP (if it is a public school program, especially) until the school district sends them over.

It will be helpful if when you go to school – during the first week, stop by the main office and give the principal a copy personally.

Get the name of the director of special education services at the school. If that is not the exact title – just explain to the staff that your child receives services – he is mandated for — therapy (fill in the blank) and you would like to introduce yourself.  I believe that they will really appreciate this initiative on your part.  It also sends a very positive message to the school about YOU as a parent. 

Now that the school is aware of the fact that your child is to be receiving services….Make sure that your child is on the list of students who should be receiving services in the school. This is extremely important because sometimes not all the names have been sent over from the district office.

Inform your child’s classroom teacher and ask for the name of the person who will be providing services.  Get a phone number/extension for that person and an idea of when they will be in school. Be aware that sometimes related service providers/therapists might travel between different schools during any particular work week.

Ask the school in a few weeks to tell you of the schedule for therapy for your child.

Ask the therapist for a weekly report – bring in a composition book…put in your name and phone number and ask for theirs. 

Double check the number of sessions that your child can receive during the year.  With budget cuts impacting on services across the country and possibly, a limit on this should not be overlooked!

In October – we will revisit this topic for next steps.  Schedules may not necessarily be finalized until the first few weeks  into that month – but make a start to get involved in the process.  It will be appreciated and most important – will benefit both you and your child.

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