What To Do This Summer as a Special Needs Parent

School is almost out in a month or two for students. As a special needs parent, this may not be the most joyous time as you deal with the complexities of trying to establish a new (yet temporary) schedule for your child. However, no matter what you do, special needs parents should always use this time to become more familiar with their child’s IEP.
Because you want to understand your child’s IEP, so that your child is getting the best services that they need AND you know if the IEP is being implemented appropriately. A good tip is to read it from the beginning to the end and again from the beginning to the end.
In addition, here is a list of the things that you should understand in your child’s IEP:
  • ·       their disability,
  • ·       evaluations, if applicable,
  • ·       their strengths and weaknesses,
  • ·       goals and objectives proposed for the next school year,
  • ·       the accommodations that will be provided in the classroom and for testing,
  • ·       their placement, and
  • ·       their progress at the end of the school year.

You want to read and reread over your child’s IEP so when school begins in the Fall:
  • ·       you know exactly where your child left off academically and behaviorally;
  • ·       you will be able to observe if your child shows any signs of regression;
  • ·       you will be able to track your child’s services at the beginning of the year;
  • ·       you will be able to jot down any concerns that you may have; and
  • ·       you will know if the school is in full compliance with your child’s IEP at the beginning of the school year.

Unfortunately, many parents are unaware if the school is following their child’s IEP and only find out later that the school is not in compliance. (Sadlysome parents never find this out). However, if you know your child’s IEP from the beginning, you can prevent any mishaps.
I know familiarizing yourself with an IEP can be intimidating and difficult at times, so this why you should use your summer to understand special education terminology, acronyms, disabilities, and anything else that you are unfamiliar with.
What if my child is in ESY?
If your child is in ESY, keep and review all progress reports, data sheets, observations notes and/or communication logs that you have received during ESY. You want to review these items and understand what progress your child has made over the summer, so you will know where they most likely will begin in the Fall.
One final and important note…
Read over your parental concerns and IEP meeting notes in the IEP to see if any additional items that were proposed in the meeting have been implemented and followed. If not, these are things that can be addressed at your child’s next IEP if it is early in the school year or you can ask for an IEP at the beginning of the school year to amend your child’s IEP.