In the last post, I went over some preparations for an IEP that I make as a teacher. As a parent, I'm going to take some similar steps. How involved I am depends largely on the issues involved. Percy, my youngest, has an IEP today, in fact, but I'm going to let his mother handle that one as there aren't many issues with him. We’re happy with his progress and with the services he's gotten. Jane and I did discuss the IEP, and agreed that we were happy with things. The case manager discussed what her thoughts were with Jane and the OT talked with me beforehand, so we have a good idea of what is coming. But so far, no other teacher in the county has presented us with any early drafts of the IEP to look at.
For Thomas, his issues have been more involved and sometimes more contentious. When the invitation list comes, we have invited his private therapists to attend, adding their names to the list. For those unable to attend, we obtain written reports and test results to be added to his folder. For Thomas, I have taken a more hands-on approach, including writing several sections of his IEP myself, especially some goals, parts of the PLOP and the behavior intervention plan. I then like to submit those ahead of time to his case manager who, after recovering from her fainting spell, incorporates these into the IEP.
The second thing I do, before the meeting, is request a copy of all materials written beforehand, including test results, data sheets and graphs. Last year, the case manager's hair turned white at that request, and then she had her para hastily draw some graphs in purple crayon. They were so poorly done, I ended up redoing them myself. The SLP ignored my request, but the OT received lavish praise for giving detailed notes. While it wasn't graphically depicted, her progress notes were detailed enough to show what she had been doing over the past year. And his progress in that area reflected the work she did.
I wasn't coming in loaded for bear, I was simply looking for information in order to make some informed decision about my child's education. I knew we had some difficult decisions to make, as far as placement and services, and having all the information ahead of time is critical to that process. I'm sure I make his teachers nervous, but that's okay. I get nervous as both parent and teacher before IEP meetings. No one really likes these things. But they are, unfortunately, a necessity.