Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Crash Study Course!

Today has been a morning crash course re-educating myself on inclusive education, pertinent laws, rights of the child, entitlement even (wow, that's a big word, isn't it?), times when inclusion is NOT appropriate, and in general.... all things inclusion.

I've also done quite a bit of reading-up on homebound services, qualifications, and part-time public school attendance.

I wouldn't say I'm sharpening the claws, because I really want for all of the upcoming meetings to be successful and peaceful for the KIDS.  But I am definitely making myself more knowledgeable so that I can go in with an informed opinion and suggestion for educating each of my kids.

I've spent the last two hours pouring over the Wright's Law site and several hours last week Googling laws including the bylaws for our area.  Quite a bit of info out there!!

Off to a good start.  Michael has no idea that he's about to get the "condensed crash course" in the next few days... you know, the one where I sit and read him everything highlighted on all the paperwork that I printed out so he can be just as loud, er... educated... a voice in the meetings as well.  ((  Sorry honey... :)  ))

Brianna's IEP meeting is next week on Thursday.  Here's a question for you if you have a child with an IEP or help in creating IEPs...  Do you generally receive a copy of relevant material before the IEP meeting or do you just sit down at the meeting and have it all shared at the meeting?  Also (hmm, guess I have a few questions...) have parents generally gotten a copy of the evaluations and testing used at the meetings?  At the very least, the results which are being presented?  Ahead of time?  And last... I think... do you generally discuss suggested placements before the meeting so both parties can be knowledgeable about what the other has in mind?

We generally sit down at the meeting without prior knowledge of anything, BUT, we generally all agree on what's being done.  When there have been difficulties that an IEP meeting was called to 'fix', they have been stated up front and our intentions as well as the school's were well known before the meeting.  Right now, we've talked to the people that we are working with, but not with anyone that is actually coming up with their own plan or determination of placement for THREE of our kids.  All three will have new placements for next year.  For Wesley and Aleksa I haven't even mentioned our desire for part time homebound because I've not met with anyone that would have the ability to do anything with that...  Hmm...

Thanks for your input! :)


  1. We have learned to politely "request" that a draft be provided to us a week before the meeting, along with all evaluative data. I go overboard in explaining that I know we will actually write the IEP in the meeting, but they come to the meeting with some draft ideas to discuss, and I cannot possibly think about all of this sitting in that meeting, I need time to digest. I think especially those of us with more than one child with IEP's and in your case with two NEW kids, keeping everything straight is a nightmare.
    I know at one time I did have to tell them that if they could not provide me with a copy a week before, I would gladly come to the meeting and participate, but I would not sign anything, and we would have to schedule another meeting at least a week later to go over any questions and changes. They are generally happy to provide the draft copy after that discussion!

  2. its generally considered best practice for schools to give parents advanced copies of things like IEP's and to ask for their input before a meeting. However, that doesn't mean that schools actually do it! You are always allowed to ask for advanced copies of PROPOSED iep's (bolded b/c you know youcan always refuse to sign until you are satisfied) and the school will need to comply with your request! Hope it goes well,

  3. I would say generally we do not send home IEP's or 3 year evaluations in advance. When requested by a parent I do everything in my power to get my portion sent home in advance. Remember an IEP is a working document and a revision meeting can be initiated by any member of the IEP team at anytime ( just remember scheduling often means a less than immediate response). Often being willing to sign the IEP showing your attendance (not agreement) is a great way to keep the school portion of the team happy. You should have something like 30 days to submit in writing what you do not agree with or can agree in the IEP stating in the Notice of Action that you will reconvene in X# of weeks to resolve issues which the team does not agree on. Good Luck!

  4. Meredith, I would contact the teachers and therapists and ask if you can quickly get a rough copy of what they have planned. Tell them you aren't worried about the language of the goals, etc., you just want to have an idea ahead of time so that the meeting can stay fluid and focused the entire time.

  5. Hi Meredith :) I always try to send home a copy of my students' drafted IEP's prior to their meetings. I will also be the first one to admit that with such a large caseload of students, there have been times I have not had time. You should though, be able to request one with not problems. I try and discuss any anticipated major changes with parents prior to meetings as well. I just don't think it is fair to a parent to be caught off guard. In fact, I am meeting with a set of parents over spring break to talk about possible placement options for their son for next year so that when we go into his transition meeting, we will be on the same page and pushing for a common cause. As far as assessment results are concerned, you should also get a copy of these, but in my experience as a classroom teacher, I often don't even get results until right before the meetings. The school psychologists (at least around here) are completely slammed. I wish you the best of luck with everything. I wish I were closer. I love reading your blog and would love to have your kiddos in my class :)

  6. I would say it varies.....the school I worked in did NOT give IEPs drafts out early. Often the psychologist, SLP, etc reports were simply not available. Often some IEPs were updated on the spot (parent info) via laptop. The size of the IEP team also makes a difference in coordinating a draft copy. At times, the sheer number of people involved often meant that some information was heard for the first time (complete) at the meeting. Even as the Spec.Ed teacher-- I admit at times, I could not have given a draft. I simply did not have the information I needed from other staff to do so (social work, psychologist, SLP, Gen Ed teacher,etc). I was never upset to have another IEP meeting after sharing data, brainstorming, and then agreeing to meet at another time to determine placement. You may even want to visit possible placements at other schools before deciding and that takes time.

    The area we lived in (one of my girls had an IEP) I was sent an IEP draft the week before.

    As per homebound. If you are talking actual instruction at home---most districts would have a coordinator for homebound. Make sure that person is invited to the meeting- often homebound is separate from Spec.Ed department unless you are in a small district that may share duties.

    I have never had a student on 1/2 homebound. The rules surrounding it (hours, teachers involved, etc) are different. Most of students that were homebound OR at school, not both. We did have some students on an shortened school day--- but they did not get homebound services unless they were gone from school for an extended period.

    I would try to touch base with your IEP coordinator and get a feel for the meeting. Have some questions ready (both when talking to that person and for the IEP itself). If you can, bring another adult to take notes--- afterward it can be hard to recall all the information.

  7. i think u can ask for the iep

    hope it goes well

  8. i do not have info on the IEP meetings.

    i read a blog yesterday that tells how a mother handles homeschooling her three special needs children. i'll include the address in case you have not already read her blog. sewntogetherbygracedotblogspotdotcom several of her jan '11 blogs (26,27,28,11) include this info.

  9. Technically the IEP is not supposed to be written until the team is all together, etc. However, I agree with what others have said, most teachers and therapists have an idea/draft of what their goals, etc. will be. The other thing you could do is give a written list of the goals you would like everyone to work on with your child to the rest of team. You could ask what the possible placements are so you can visit them and see what you think. As a professional, we want what is best for the student while working within the constraints of our school district/placement options, etc. Good luck and remember the rest of your team is human but the focus of everyone should be the student. Wrightslaw is a great resource!

  10. Our district policy is to send out the assessment reports and draft goals at least 3-5 days before the meeting. We are pretty good at getting those out no later than Friday for a Wednesday meeting. We don't send the rest of the IEP out early (service levels, accommodations, etc.) because much of that is written at the meeting. Remember, you don't have to sign at the meeting. You can take it home, think it over and then sign later or ask for a follow up meeting if your concerns were not addressed. Good luck!

  11. Meredith,

    You can ask for a draft of the IEP before the meeting, and if it is ready before the meeting most schools will share it with you. If not, and you need time to consider the information before completing the IEP, you can always ask to have the meeting continue to another date.

    Technically, placement should be the last thing you discuss. The idea is to plan an appropriate program for the child, one that will allow her to make meaningful educational progress. Then you figure out the least restrictive environment in which you can implement the program. That is the child's placement. That being said, it can save time to know everyone's expectations ahead of time.

    "Homebound" may (or may not) be the term you want to use. Terms vary from state to state, but around here homebound is not a special education placement, it is a short term, minimal provision of a tutor to address a medical or mental health issue which prevents the child from coming to school for a discrete period of time.

    "Instruction in the home" is a special education placement for a child for whom the least restrictive environment in which she can make meaningful educational progress is the home.

    However, if what you are really talking about is a reduced schedule, whereby the child attends school on a part time basis, that is an accomodation that the IEP Team can make and include in the IEP.

    Good luck with the IEP Meetings.

  12. M- states are required to have "protection and advocacy" systems to help the families/children through the process. Google that term.


  13. Definitely request a draft ahead of time. If I don't get one, I show up at the meeting and then say that we need to reschedule so I have time to review the draft. Having that happen once or twice usually makes the school staff remember to send a draft in the future.

    The eval results are not as clear cut. I usually will accept those at the meeting as long as the person who conducted the eval is at the meeting and available for questions.

    Placement should never be decided before the IEP is complete. The services in the IEP should drive placement.

    Email me privately if you like. I have five children, 4 with IEPS, 2 of those very, very complicated IEPs, and have been through and won due process. My kids are now in their teens and I have been an active participant in the IEP process since they were 2.5 years old.

    And definitely locate the protection and advocacy organization in your state. They have been a lifesaver for me, especially during due process. They provided legal representation at no cost. I wouldn't bring them in until you sense real problems might arise, but it's nice to have the contact info handy.

    I think you will do just fine!!

  14. In MA evaluation reports must be available at least two days before the IEP meeting. I would never recommend that the parent come to an IEP meeting without prior knowledge of evaluation findings. It is simply too much to process at the meeting!