How Do I Get My Child’s IEP Going at the Beginning of the School Year?

My daughter got her first IEP last spring when she was a fifth grader. She started attending middle school this fall and it seems to be taking a long time for the school to line up some of her service providers. Is there anything I can do to help get her IEP going at the beginning of the school year?

Unfortunately, this problem is not uncommon. Schools often have to deal with faculty and staff leaving and new faculty and staff starting. Schedules sometimes change at the last minute. A new school year may also come with shifts in policies and procedures.

All of these changes help explain why it can be challenging to transition your child’s IEP services from year to year—and especially from school to school. These kinds of things can fall through the cracks. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help the transition go as smoothly as possible for your child.

I’m grouping my advice for you in three buckets: what you can do now, what you can do to prepare for next year and how you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

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Join us tomorrow for the Negotiation 101 webinar at 12:15 p.m.

Did you miss the Negotiation 101 webinar? Don’t worry, we recorded it just for you!  The recording of the Negotiation 101 webinar is available for a limited time!

Kim, Kristina and the PRN specialist team hope you join us tomorrow, August 15, at 12:15 p.m. CST for our next Statewide webinar Negotiation 101: How to Get the Special Education Services Your Child Needs.  We will discuss negotiation strategies used to effectively gain appropriate special education services for your child. These strategies can help you become a more successful member of your child’s IEP team!

Register for this webinar at

8 Tips for Building a Good Relationship With Your Child’s Teacher

Developing a good relationship with your child’s teacher will make it easier for you to share concerns and work together to help your child succeed. Here are some tips from for building a partnership:

1. Meet with the teacher and staff ASAP

Consider meeting even before the school year starts, if possible. If your child has an IEP, give the teacher a copy of it. Share other information—like hobbies, interests and important family events—that will help your teacher get to know your child.

2. Find out how the teacher wants to be reached

Share email addresses and phone numbers. Explore tips you can use when emailing with teachers and sentence starters you can use when you talk.

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Learning to Negotiate is Part of the Advocacy Process

Be specific! When you make a statement like “I want my child to have a free appropriate education,” this is like asking for a piece of string of unknown or undefined length. Your statement of “I want . . .” must be followed by a “because.” The “because” should come from your well-stated issues and your supporting factual evidence. Why? Because any issue that you identify as a grievance is a request that something be done differently than it is being done now.

Techniques & Tactics

1. Listen carefully to the other side.

If you listen carefully enough, you’ll find that the other side often gives you good clues about how to solve the problem.

Don’t formulate a response until you give the other side a chance to express their thoughts and ideas.

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How Can I Help My Child Cope With Anxiety About Going Back to School?

My son is anxious about going back to school, and the closer we get to the first day back, the worse it gets. He’s been acting out and throwing tantrums, saying he refuses to go. What can I do?

Going back to school can be a stressful time for both parents and children. Starting a new school year can make kids nervous, especially if there will be changes from the previous year, such as a new school, new teachers or new peers.

If your child seems very distressed about going back, here are some things to discuss with him. Find a time when he is relatively calm to have these talks. (Avoid times like when he’s upset or getting ready for school.)

“Let’s think of some ways I can help make the transition back to school easier for you.” Start the brainstorming by suggesting a few simple things, such as packing a special snack or walking him to his classroom on the first few days. But make clear that you will not honor requests to let him stay home from school.

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9 Tips to Help You Advocate for Your Child

1. Know the rules

All public schools abide by specific laws and regulations which provide special services for children with disabilities who qualify for such services. The criteria for eligibility vary in each state and some school districts, but all schools must adhere to a minimum federal standard.  To learn more about the laws in your state and your rights as a parent, contact us.

2. Get to know the people who make decisions about your child’s education

Connect with educators and administrators in both casual and formal settings. Talk with your child’s teacher on a regular basis. If possible, volunteer in the classroom and help out with school functions. If you have concerns or problems that a teacher
cannot or will not address, be willing to follow up the chain through the school, and if necessary, to the district office. Remember that you, as a parent, have the right to request that the school evaluate your child if you think he or she may have a learning disability. Be sure that your request is in writing.

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