Individualized Education Plans, or IEPs, are a way for parents and education professionals at a school come to an agreement about how special needs students can best thrive during their school career. As a parent with one of these students, your ability to work with the school is vital so your child receives everything necessary to do well. When you want to make changes to their IEP, it's smart to work on the following.
Telling school administrators that you'd like to change something they've already put in place is challenging. As professionals, they may think that they have a better idea than you do of how to proceed with certain aspects of your child's education. That's why it's valuable to go into any IEP meetings with as much professional backup as possible.
Now, it's unlikely that your child's therapist or doctor can come to each meeting with you, but they can provide reports, statement, professional studies and other documents that support the need for the changes you'd like to make. The school will find it difficult to turn down the recommendation of other professionals; they could be more likely to listen and compromise with you as a result.
Professional backup might also come in the form of a special education lawyer. Knowing what the law allows and how it protects students like your child, they can be a smart, vital presence in any IEP scenario.
If you don't bring an attorney to the meeting, take copious notes throughout. Exact phrases, words and reasoning that comes from the school administration can reveal their motivations, so your notes will not only help you remember what was said, but can aid a lawyer in building a case if it comes to that.
Network with Parents
You and your spouse might go into an IEP meeting alone, but when you network with other parents of special education students regularly, you can bring their knowledge with you. Other parents may have requested similar changes in your school or others, and can provide support and suggestions for your own situation. Being able to count on those who understand and have experienced similar issues can make your own appearance at the IEP meeting a better one.
Changes to your child's IEP can be positive for their school career. Working with school officials can make those changes happen. If you don't think you're getting necessary support or agreement from those officials, check with a special education lawyer about what you may do next.