Last Friday, February 18th, I was one of the callers on the Total Education Radio Show, featured on BlogTalkRadio. The show is hosted by Neil Haley, the Total Tutor. Featuring special guests Dr. Shellie Hipsky and Dr. Kari Miller, the topic of discussion was educational advocacy, IEP's, inclusion, and procedural safeguards.
I was the show's second caller (right around 28 minutes into the program). On the topic of IEP's and educational advocacy, I had a chance to discuss the importance of connecting with other special needs families locally through a support group. It is these connections that have a huge impact in knowing what to expect at an IEP meeting, particularly when you are new to the process.
It is also very important that you are not alone when you go to IEP meetings. Bring your spouse, a friend, neighbor, or anyone who is willing to sit in the meeting with you to be another set of ears. It's even better when they can take notes for you so you can focus solely on interacting with the IEP team.
I also talked about how a parent should not feel pressured to sign the IEP before the meeting's conclusion, particularly when modifications are made during the meeting. It is perfectly alright to take a copy of the IEP home with you to review with your spouse, a friend, another special needs parent, or an educational advocate. Getting another person's perspective can often be very helpful to ensure the IEP is written in the best interest of your child.
To listen to the Total Education Hour show from 2/18/11, click here.