When developing an IEP (Individualized Educational Plan) or Section 504 Agreement for your child, parents are often left sitting at the meeting, overwhelmed by the entire process. They many times miss the opportunity to speak up for their child, to request services and accommodations that may create success rather than failure. This is not because parents do not care, but it is because they don't understand the process or are intimidated by the school officials sitting at the table with them. Or maybe they feel that the teachers know what is best. But parents are invaluable in setting up services. They know their children best, they know from experience what has worked and what has not. They know their child's strengths and weaknesses. With this knowledge, parents are often the most important people in an IEP or Section 504 meeting.
IEP Meeting Preparation
Being prepared is extremely important. Below are some ideas to help you get started on preparing a list of services that could benefit your child. These are some ideas that have worked for other parents and have been implemented by school districts. Use these ideas as a starting point and add based on your child's specific needs.
Easily Distracted Child
Front row seating away from doors and windows
Creating a signal between the teacher and student to have them get back on track, for example, walking past the desk and lightly tapping it.
Changing the children your child sits around.
Receiving daily reports on what subject matter was covered in class for review at night.
Children with Test Anxiety
Use oral tests to determine knowledge of a subject.
Have the child take the test in the resource room or library where the anxieties of watching other children complete their tests is gone.
Allow the child to come back after school or during free periods (but try not to take away recess or lunch) to complete their tests.
Use a teacher/student signal, such as tapping the desk or the teacher clearing their throat as a reminder to get back on task.
Adapt tests to show knowledge instead of speed. For example, limit math questions to 4 questions to show an understanding of the subject rather than completing 10 questions.
Send home study guides several nights before the test for review.
Problems Completing Seatwork
Have the child complete the seatwork in the resource room or library.
Have uncompleted seatwork sent home to be completed, with a note to the parent to let them know about the extra work. Grades should not be lowered for seatwork handed in the following day.
Reduce the seatwork to show knowledge of subject rather than speed.
Use a teacher/student signal to help the student stay on track.
Allow students to work with a "buddy" at times.
Problems with Homework
Have the teacher sign the assignment book each day to indicate your child has proper homework written down.
Have an extra set of books at home.
Use a website or home work hotline to list homework assignments so that parents can check to see what is for home work
Allow for "bad" homework days. children with ADHD often take much longer to complete assignments.
Add one or two more days to complete, especially if parents have noticed the teacher that students spend time working on the assignment. (My son routinely took 2-3 hours per night to complete homework that others complete in 45 minutes) If a teacher has noticed that homework took several hours but still was not completed, adjustments should be allowed
Have parents check off homework that was completed to let the teacher know it was completed, even if the student cannot find it in the moment
Reduce homework assignments to show knowledge and understanding of the subject matter.
Use a buddy system to help the student pack up at the end of the day and make sure they have all of the materials they need.
These are just some examples and can easily be modified to fit the specific needs of your child. If you have additional suggestions that have worked for your family, please leave a comment and share these ideas with other parents.