In the first two parts of this series, I described case conferences and what goes into an IEP. It is important for parents/caregivers to show up to the case conference fully prepared. Proper preparation helps to ensure that the student gets everything they need for a successful education.
Preparing for a case conference, especially your first, can be overwhelming. It is important to do your own research and find methods best for you. Here are some tips for preparation to get you started:
- Know your rights: This is a big one. Go into the meeting already aware for what your child is eligible and the steps you can take to ensure goals are met. Though it is long, it would help to read the Indiana Board of Education Special Education Rules.
- Review the past year: This tip, of course, is only if this is not your first IEP. Reviewing the previous years IEP is a good idea. This will help you to evaluate if goals were adequately met, what worked and what didnt work.
- Come in with your own questions, concerns & recommendations: You know your child best and should feel confident sharing your own concerns and recommendations with the school personnel. Preparing these ahead of time will keep everyone involved on the same page as you work together to achieve your childs goals for their future.
- Keep Folders: Its important to keep any information on your childs education from year to year. Correspondence with the school, report cards, IEPs, homework/tests and behavioral reports are all good items to keep. It would also be helpful for these documents to be organized in separate folders and by each year.
- Bring Notes: Write out everything you want to cover in the meeting and bring it with you. This will ensure you dont forget anything. It would be best to bring a notepad with you to take notes during the meeting, as you are not able to take the IEP home with you.