This is my personal philosophy: When an advocate goes to an IEP meeting with a parent, we are there for three main reasons.
#1 – Parent’s Concerns Are Heard
Our first responsibility is to make sure that your concerns are heard. School members should not cut you short, talk over you or ignore your requests. In an IEP meeting you as a parent have as much right to participate as any other person in the meeting. We make sure you are heard.
#2 – Your Child Receives Services
Our second responsibility as an advocate when attending an IEP meeting with you, is to make sure your son or daughter receives all of the services and accommodations that they are eligible for. Through our experience we know what services are available through the school district and how a child can become eligible for them. Even if school personnel don’t mention them in the IEP meeting, we’ll make sure they’re discussed.
#3 – Make Sure You’re Being Told The Truth
When you go to your IEP meeting, you want to know you’re being told the truth. We make sure the school members of the meeting do not lie to you and do not try to weasel out of providing help for your child.
IEP Meetings: Playing By The Rules
I remember attending an IEP meeting and afterwards the father said to me, “That was the best IEP meeting ever.” I replied, “I’m sorry that we did not quite get everything that you had wanted.”
“That’s okay,” he said. “As long as I know that they played by the rules, and were honest and fair in their assessment, I can accept their decision, even if my son didn’t receive everything. What drives me absolutely crazy is the not knowing if they’re lying or telling the truth. Today I knew.”
When you walk out of an IEP meeting our goal is to make sure that you know that what happened in the meeting was appropriate under the law and that you were treated fairly. You may not get everything you want in the meeting, but at least you know there was a legitimate reason why your child did not qualify.