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The Special Education IEP and the Parent Underdog

Are you a parent of a child with a learning disability? The deck is stacked against you for achieving a quality, special education IEP. Learn how to get the best possible program for your child. What is an IEP ? The special education IEP (Individualized Education Program) process was created by the Federal law called IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) to ensure that students with learning disabilities would receive an appropriate education. The IEP process can be confusing, stressful, and sometimes terrifying to parents. The process comes to a head at the IEP meeting, so this is often the most stressful part of the IEP process. Why is this process so difficult for parents? Through a series of 3 articles, well look at the IEP process, why the deck is stacked against parents, steps to take to even the odds, the IEP success method to follow for an effective IEP meeting, and how to prepare for IEP 91

1. What are the IEP Process Steps? Identify that a problem exists and it cannot be solved Educate yourself about the IEP process Assess and test the student Analyze the test results Prepare for the meeting / get and give input in advance Meet to review information and create (or deny) an IEP Evaluate the plan and alternatives Execute the plan or alternative Negotiate changes Monitor progress Manage transitions Repeat the process, at least annually The IEP - Why are Parents at a disadvantage? 1. You are usually outnumbered.

2. The other attendees are speaking a language that is difficult for you to understand-educationese, legalese, and medicalese.

3. Your child is one of many students. This is their job, but your child. This sets you up for emotional reactions.

4. Because you are emotionally involved, it is harder to be objective. You feel you have more to lose; its easy to become defensive or lose your temper.

5. The people sitting across from you are people you learned to respect, obey, and / or fear as a child. Principals, medical people, teachers. You may not see yourself as an equal.

6. You are asking for something. It is implied that anything you ask for will take away from another student.

7. Some of these people attend dozens of IEP meetings every month. You may go to one or two a year. They have experience on their side.

8. The school personnel earn a salary while they attend these meetings. You may give up some salary to attend.

9. The school district has an attorney. You may know of an attorney!


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