Providing The Right Education Program For Your Child
If you have a child with special needs, he or she may require additional attention, classes or assistance for learning. If this is the case, it may be necessary to familiarize yourself with how an IEP – Individualized Education Program – may be beneficial to your child’s education.
This program refers to special educational services offered at public schools.
Specifically, an IEP meeting will clarify your child’s individual needs, the services the school provides and how his or her progress will be measured.
As the parent of a child who requires additional assistance, it is common for parents to feel a hidden sense of guilt or burden. Remember that you have done nothing wrong; you have not failed as a parent by not placing your child in an IEP.
An IEP meeting is not designed to cast blame or discouragement, but to help better assess your child’s needs so that he or she may get the most from their education. After all, everyone deserves to learn, grow and enjoy their educational experience.
The following three tips can help you prepare for your child’s IEP meeting.
Get to Know the IEP Team
When your child sees you build positive relationships with other role models or authority figures in his or her life – such as teachers, school psychologists, social workers or even the principal – not only will your child feel more comfortable, you will, too.
Consider introducing yourself to at least one member of the IEP team before your meeting, and seek to make a friendly connection. This will help foster a positive, collaborative relationship that encourages transparency and open communicaton.
Focus on Your Child’s Needs
The goal of an IEP meeting is to help meet your child’s educational needs, and that should remain the focus. To ensure each of your questions are addressed, try making a detailed list before the meeting takes place.
If you have time, learn the full purpose and format of the meeting beforehand. This will help better prepare you for it. Be ready to not only provide information about your child, but to also verify his or her most important needs. Feel free to ask, “How will this meeting benefit my child?” Or, “How will this help meet my child’s special needs?”
Set S.M.A.R.T. Goals
For the IEP meeting to be successful, it is helpful to set goals. Set “S.M.A.R.T.” goals to ensure your time is not wasted, and that your child will get the most from the program.
Setting these types of goals before the meeting will help you gain a clear understanding of what your child will be taught, and how his or her progress in the program will be measured. When you leave the meeting, a main take away should be what skills your child will gain from an IEP, and how these skills will assist them in their current and future education.
use Action Words
Realistic and Relevant
Most Importantly, Remember To Keep An Open Mind For Your Child
Equally important as these tips is to remember to keep an open mind. The purpose of an IEP meeting is to benefit your child. Though this can sometimes be a difficult and complex time, remember that you are not alone. Your child’s faculty and school staff do care and want what is best for your child.