Special Education Parents... Go See Your Child at School! (Ep 145)

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Recently, I presented an IEP workshop to a group of parents and a question came up: "Can I go see my child at school?" YES! Of course you can. Lean in and listen to these three things that you should look for when you visit your child's school. 

Let's improve the IEP beyond just writing better IEP goals. We have to make sure that every child is having an experience at school that prepares them for further education, employment, and independent living and truly prioritizes that experience. 

Keep in mind, visiting your child's school is not a "Gotcha" moment. We're not looking for ways to catch someone at your child's school doing something wrong. This is meant to help you become an equal member of the IEP team because you can't make informed decisions when you haven't seen your child's plan in action. 

 

Inclusion

Is it evident that your child is included in the school community, no matter where they receive instruction? Maybe they're getting instruction in a general education classroom, maybe its inside a self-contained classroom. Do they look like they're included in the school community? Look for inclusive experiences. I say it all the time: Inclusion is not a place, it's an experience. You'll know as a parent if your child feels like they're part of the community just by observing them. 

Have some patience in this observation though. If you see instances where your student isn't included, use that as an opportunity to design more inclusive experiences during the school day with your IEP team. 

 

Prompting

Look for the level of prompting your child is receiving throughout their day. You want your student to be as independent as possible, and a lot of times what we see is unnecessary adult prompting. Sometimes this happens because your child needed that assistance earlier in the school year, but it has become a habit that never tapered off. Maybe your child is being prompted by staff for a task that you know they can do by themselves, but they've got the adults tricked. Those are great opportunities to help your IEP team provide better assistance and instruction for your child to experience real growth. 

 

Be Curious

Ask those questions. They're so important. Ask your school staff about supports and programs available to your child to support their educational, emotional, physical, and social needs. You're going to see things on the wall at school, like the school's Core Values, ask about them and how your students get to explore those ideas. Going to do an observation doesn't have to be limited to just the classroom— get a clear picture of the community at school and how your child fits into it. 

Teachers, encourage the parents of your students to get curious about school life. You can truly be a team if everyone has the same information at the IEP table.  

 

I love working with parents and professionals who want to dig into IEPs at a whole new level! If you're a parent, a school, or an organization that needs an IEP workshop, send me an email at [email protected]

 

Here's a glance at the episode... 

[3:01] "If you see instances where your student isn't included, use that as an opportunity to design more inclusive experiences during the school day with your IEP team."

[3:40] "You want your student to be as independent as possible, and a lot of times what we see is unnecessary adult prompting."

[6:45] "You can truly be a team if everyone has the same information at the IEP table."

 

Click here to listen! 

*Don't forget to leave a review of the episode on your favorite streaming service.  They mean more than you know! 

 

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