Special Education Advocate Covering the State of California

Preparation for my Son/Daughter's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) Meeting

Added on by Sheiveh Jones.

Written by Todd Jones, PsyD, Licensed Educational Psychologist

Please consider sending members of the IEP Team a list of times you are available for an IEP Team Meeting. Give them windows of time/dates that work with your schedule considering existing work and family commitments. 

Provide team a list or agenda of action items that are topics of discussion for review and consideration that you have personally penned with a recommended team delivery time of 5-10 calendar days prior to the agreed upon IEP Meeting date.

Advise team that you are planning on recording the meeting. Please kindly give 48 hours notice in writing of your plan to record meeting and also to enable local  educational agency (LEA)/school district to also prepare themselves and also record the meeting. 

Request advance copies of IEP documents including draft goals/objectives alongside specialist reports (if any apply) at least one calendar week prior to the IEP meeting. It may or may not be possible to have the request honored. By acquiring these documents and reading them at home before the day of the meeting, better use of time can be realized by covering other IEP action items and not just reading the contents of various reports. 

Please provide IEP Team in advance of the meeting, recommended timeframe of 5-10 days prior to the IEP meeting, any copies of outside specialist reports that will help LEA with educational planning.

After IEP meeting, please follow up with team members on any action items promised by either you, the parent/grandparent/guardian, or the individual members of the IEP team or itinerant service providers. 



Key Points to Consider in Establishing Weekly Monitoring of Student Progress on Individualized Education Plans (IEPs):

Added on by Sheiveh Jones.

Written by Todd Jones, PsyD, Licensed Educational Psychologist

Key Points to Consider:

  • Email and communicate with each service provider as written into your child's IEP on a weekly basis the following service professionals: resource specialist program (RSP) teacher, special day class (SDC) teacher, speech language pathologist, occupational therapist (OT), vision specialist, DHH itinerant, braille transcriber, assistive technology specialist (AT), etc.
  • Reply to each email that you receive from each specialist, as that is what you would like in return.
  • Discuss any concerns that you may have and give school personnel the first opportunity to resolve said concerns. A healthy relationship is maintained if we avoid the temptation to leap-frog one another and speak to the supervisor without giving an individual the first opportunity to take corrective action. 
  • Please ask questions that you have right away and do not hold onto them for a while and allow them to accumulate.
  • Please send out compliments (sincere) that recognize progress that you see in your child that relate directly to services provided by your child's school service professionals. 

Monitoring Progress Of My Child On An Active Individualized Education Plan

Added on by Sheiveh Jones.

Written by Todd Jones, PsyD, Licensed Educational Psychologist

Establishing Positive and Reciprocal two-way communication with your son or daughter's general education or special education teacher is essential to maintaining a relationship built upon trust and a mutual expectation that my child ultimately succeed and derive an educational benefit from her or his educational program. 

Upon establishing this positive parent-teacher relationship, dialogue can be opened up and maintained. Please consider setting up a weekly email communications log to review outstanding homework assignments, book reports, projects, and progress towards IEP goals and objectives skill strands. When communicating with your daughter or son's teacher, please utilize neutral, positive, unbiased, and vocabulary free from judgment or assumption.

Remember, as parents of special needs children, we walk a journey that no one else has walked. Until someone has walked, in our shoes during that journey, that will not know what we have truly endured. Likewise, we can not appreciate the journey fully that the teacher has traveled as it would probably humble and impress us at the same time. Remember, mutual positive regard for on another is key.   

Parenting Advice by the Water Cooler

Added on by Sheiveh Jones.

Written by Todd Jones, PsyD, Licensed Educational Psychologist

As parents we can relate to the following discussion threads that we have likely had with our friends, families, neighbors, and colleagues at work:  Is your son or daughter doing this?  Will he or she outgrow this (phase of their life or development)?  Your son or daughter had Ms. Smith last year as teacher, did you also have problems with her?

Being a parent is a deeply rewarding, intensely personal, extremely challenging, and quite likely, at times, an overwhelming experience.  Who, as a parent, hasn’t been at one time or the other been confused, frustrated, disillusioned or flat out ready to throw your hands in the air for the afternoon and go curl up and take a nap?  You are definitely not alone in your thoughts, feelings, and expressions!

While consulting and gaining advice from other adults about parenting our children can be encouraging and a source of benefit, it can likely also be off the mark, patently false, and more aligned with what worked for their child’s unique set of circumstances or personality.  Exercise some caution when taking someone else’s opinion or advice on how to handle the unique nature of how to manage your child’s needs, particularly at different stages of interpersonal growth and development.

Points to consider, measure what you know as the most knowledgeable person about what your son or daughter needs and pair with what advice you have newly received.  Is the advice, as it has been presented, relatable to your child?  Are parts of it spot on?  Other parts not at all?  Use your best judgment.

What impact will the implementation of this advice have on my child? Negative?  Positive? Neutral or minimal?

Is the advice being given by someone you respect?  The old adage goes consider the source.  Is the person offering advice someone of high integrity, of good ethics, and a parent of a well adjusted, well rounded, and developmentally healthy child?

Perhaps the number one stressor when seeking out advice is the pressure to conform.  Whether it be to assimilate our parenting style to others, including colleagues at work or, particularly our relatives, we sometimes are made to feel inadequate as parents if we don’t subscribe to collective or conventional theories of parenting.  Do not be afraid to research an approach to parenting or an adjustment to your parenting style that is independent of others’ styles.  After all, if the approach is based on research of what is effective for children at various stages of development and is done with their best interests in mind, how can you miss?

-Todd Jones, PsyD, Licensed Educational Psychologist