NEW JERSEY. Your child’s IEP meeting can be incredibly stressful, even if you have been attending these meetings for many years. It is easy to be overwhelmed by the number of professional educators in the room and by the sheer quantity of information they may have on hand about your child’s progress. The best thing you can do to prepare for your child’s next IEP meeting is to enter the meeting informed. Take the time to review any documents you may have and go in prepared with a list of questions and goals you may have for your child.
There are certainly some things you should not do during these meetings. What are they? Here are a few:
- Don’t bring your anger into the meeting. Your child may have struggled in the past and you may have had difficulty in the past getting access to services for your child. Treat each new IEP meeting as an opportunity. New teachers and staff members may be involved. Even if you are working with the same staff members, according to Autism Awareness, positivity can go a long way. Each year is a new start.
- Don’t go it alone. A special needs lawyer will understand the ins and outs of how your child’s school district handles IEPs and how to access the best resources available to your child. While you know your child’s needs, the special needs lawyer, Stuart M. Nachbar, Esq. at the Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. in New Jersey can help you navigate the school system and its resources.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for more. If your child’s current school doesn’t have the resources your child needs, perhaps there is a school in the district that does? If you want your child to work with a specific kind of specialist, ask.
- Don’t settle. Some schools might try to offer your child accommodations within his or her current classroom—and this might be just fine. But if you know that this won’t work, don’t settle for anything less than what you believe your child deserves. A special needs lawyer can help you when it comes to advocating for your child.
- Don’t be afraid to make formal complaints. Put your complaints in writing, if you feel that they are not being resolved during the IEP meeting. The special needs lawyer, Stuart M. Nachbar, Esq. at the Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C. in New Jersey can help you draft letters and documents to help you seek the results you want.
- Ask to speak to the higher-ups. If the administrators in the room or the teachers can’t give you what you need or can’t help your child, ask to speak to their supervisors. If the principal isn’t in the room, ask why. If the principal can’t help, get in touch with the head of the school district in your area.
- Don’t sign the IEP right away. You have time to review the plan. Show the plan to your special needs lawyer. Show the plan to your child’s psychologist or medical professionals. Even if you are happy with what is presented to you in the meeting, it can’t hurt to sleep on it and get advice.
- Don’t be rude. Yes, this is your child and it is understandable to be angry if you feel your child’s needs aren’t being met. Instead of getting angry, get help. Share your concerns with a person higher up in the school system.
- Don’t leave until your questions have been answered. If there isn’t time to answer all your questions, tell administrators that you’ll send the questions via email. Don’t sign the IEP until you get all your questions answered.
- Don’t go in without knowing your legal rights. Different school districts have different rules regarding what can happen during a meeting. The meeting may be recorded. A special needs lawyer can help you understand your rights during the meeting and what steps you can take after the meeting, if you disagree with the IEP plan.
According to KidsHealth, your child’s regular teacher should be present at the IEP meeting. Demand that the right people be present at the meeting. Generally, an IEP is reviewed each year, so it is important that the right people are in the room for this high-stakes meeting. However, it is important to understand that you also have the right to review and reassess the IEP if it isn’t working for your child. With a little preparation, you’ll be able to leave your IEP meeting with the results your child needs.
Law Office of Stuart M. Nachbar, P.C.
354 Eisenhower Parkway,
PO Box 2205,
Livingston, NJ 07039
Tel: (973) 567 0954
Fax: (973) 629 1294