Missed IEP Minutes - Now What?
Missed IEP Minutes is a tough situation for everyone.
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We're going to talk about what to do when you have missed IEP minutes. This is a difficult situation no matter what your role is at the IEP table. It becomes uncomfortable for the teachers, the parents, and the therapists, when it comes this hot topic of what to do when minutes are missing.
How you handle this situation is super important because we want to get to a solution as fast as possible. So as soon as you figure out what is happening in your student's or your child's day it's important we get to a solution
Parents, sometimes you don't realize what's not happening until it hasn't been happening for a little while. That's the case a lot of the time when it comes to missed minutes. These missed minutes can be speech therapy, occupational therapy, minutes, resource minutes, direct instruction minutes.
The first thing is that you need to make sure that you have a clear documentation in writing that's agreed upon between everybody about how many minutes have actually been missed. This becomes a big discussion most of the time because there can be some different perceptions on exactly how many minutes have been missed. So your first goal is to really get those minutes documented and solidified. Example: There are 75 minutes that have been missed for speech therapy in the last 30 days.
Now a plan to make those minutes up can look different depending on what a child's school day looks like or the availability of the provider. We don't want the child missing other important things in their school day to make up minutes that it should have happened in the first place.
This is where we get into that conversation of when do we make them up, how do we make them up? Can it happen before school, after school? Is there a place in the school day that we can squeeze those in? Is this something that is maybe a service that we can wait until over the summer to possibly make up these minutes? Are there staff available over the summer to help make up those minutes? Do we need to start looking at a third party person to make up those minutes such as an outside speech therapist or an outside certified tutor, an outside occupational therapist?
When you come to an agreement, I want to make sure again that you get these the next steps in writing. There has to be a clear plan to make up those minutes and there has to be a deadline. What we don't want is another set of minutes to be missed or another complication to happen because these makeup minutes aren't happening.
If makeup plan isn't followed or isn't working, then we need to go to a plan B as soon as possible.
Make sure you have a clear deadline of when these minutes need to be made up. Now if that deadline doesn't work out, then again, we need to look to a plan B, which often leads to a third party person providing make up minutes with the school district reimbursing.
Now don't take this as "Catherine said, if this doesn't happen, you will pay for a third party person to take care of these minutes".
I'm sharing with you the experience in the last 20 years of putting together creative solutions and moving through these situations as fast as possible to get the best results, to make sure the child is getting an appropriate education. To make sure that we're not putting things on hold.
We can't let things like this spiral out of control.
Question here from Jen: Should this be part of an IEP meeting? As in they should be providing a document that tracks them (the minutes)?
Answer: I don't want you to wait until an IEP meeting. I want to make sure that you are getting updates on support minutes and what's happening during those service minutes, at least at the same intervals that you're getting report cards and progress reports.
I don't want this to be something that all of a sudden you find out at the IEP meeting, six months later, that it has been out of control. This causes missed minutes to spiral into something that's very hard to come back from with for everyone on the team, especially the student.
Follow up question from Jen: Make up minutes might might be a separate topic entirely, but is there a good way to approach asking the district provide make up minutes instead of us getting it privately?
Answer: Absolutely. I want you to come join me in the special education inner circle. If you're not already in the Inner Circle. You will have access to what we call prior written notice examples or advocacy letters that really document this whole journey. The Inner Circle trainings really help you format exactly what needs to happen in a formal way that doesn't cause conflict where it's not needed. This needs to be very direct conversation. Sometimes it's an uncomfortable conversation. Sometimes it's frustrating to get to those solutions, but there's an absolute formula that I've been using for two decades with school districts and it still works because, let's just face it, our school districts have not changed much in the last 20 years. Overall, special education has not changed much at all in the last 20 years.
So using this format absolutely works to get a response quickly and to move it up on the action item list for your child. Meaning it takes priority and it gets the team talking about how are you going to solve this problem. If you are not in the special education inner circle or in the master IEP coach mentorship, it's time to join us and stop struggling alone.