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Happy New Year! We are finally in a new year…the year 2016! And at the beginning of every new year, most people commit to making New Year’s Resolutions, whether it be with food, fitness, lifestyle changes, etc.
Well if you are a parent of a special needs child, I want you to make one New Year’s Resolution: I WILL BE AN ADVOCATE FOR MY CHILD.
Being an advocate for your child does not just mean showing up at IEP meetings and Back to School nights. It means REALLY paying attention to what is happening in these IEP meetings, how your child is progressing in and outside the classroom and/or seeking help outside of the school when needed.
So here are some new mantras that we need to commit to this year…
1. I will familiarize myself with special ed laws and regulations, instead of being nonchalant or relying on my child’s teacher to tell me my parental rights.
2. I will keep a notebook of all files, forms, IEPs, letters, communications with school personnel, etc., so that I have an accurate record of what has already taken place.
3. I will not attend an IEP meeting until I have reviewed all my child’s records.
4. I will not go to an IEP meeting if all the required members are not there.
5. I will not go to an IEP meeting if I did not receive the proper notice of the meeting, including the purpose of the meeting.
6. I will not be afraid to ask questions if I do not understand something.
7. I will re-read the minutes after every IEP meeting and add corrections if needed.
8. I will bring a friend, advocate, specialist, attorney, if I need equal representation.
Now remember to keep these resolutions! It will make for a much better year as an advocate for your child!!!!