Preparing for the IEP

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As time passed and Ben grew older we knew it was just a matter of time before he would move from the day program at Charles Webb to a school in the Charleston County system. We had talked to many friends about what to expect during the IEP with the county

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. To say the least we were a bit skittish given the trouble we ran into with our first IEP in Richmond. Below are just a few things we learned over the years along with recommendations friends made to us.

1. Think about and write down what it is you really want for your child. Be specific.
2. If this is your first meeting with this particular IEP team, try to build a relationship with at least some of them prior to the meeting. That will start the meeting on a positive note, and make it easier to voice opinions.
3. Review all of your records and decide which you might want to take to the meeting. Decide if you want to provide copies to the team for reference.
4. Ask doctors and/or therapists who will not be in attendance for their input. Have them provide in the form of a letter.
5. Talk to others who have been through the process to get their advice.
6. Find out how long the meeting is scheduled to last. Some of the groups we have been involved with were notorious for scheduling meetings right before and right after. The last thing you want is to feel rushed.

 The Meeting
1. Don’t let anyone forget that the meeting is for your child. Dennis and I have been known to bring a picture of Ben to the meetings.
2. Make sure the IEP is written in the meeting. We have had occasions where we have shown up and the IEP was completely done and we were to read, ask questions, and sign. You the parent are an integral part of the IEP team and should take part in writing the IEP.
3. Make sure you understand all that is being proposed. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
4. Make sure everything is written down. Verbal agreements can easily be forgotten.
5. Keep emotions in check. It’s easy to get emotional when talking about your child, but it doesn’t help the process.
6. If you are not completely satisfied with the end result, take it home and review and ask to schedule a follow-up meeting. However, be positive; not antagonistic.

Next……Our First IEP in Charleston.


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