Thursday, May 5, 2011

5 Things to Remember in the ARD / IEP Meeting - Special Education Procedures

I get daily calls from irate parents listing all the injustices the school has imparted upon their child.  It can be hard to decipher between fact and reality.  I have noticed that parents will get angry and  paranoid and believe the school is "out to get them."  After calming the parent I remind them of the 5 rules that can save the meeting:
   1.  The ARD meeting is not your time to exact revenge on all the people that have wronged you.  The committee is made up of human beings that have feelings and they are NOT targeting you or your child.
   2.  Let the game come to you.  When in the ARD meeting -- be quiet -- listen -- we were blessed with 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason.  If you are talking all the time how are you helping your child?  Think about the blow hard in your meetings at work -- does anyone really listen to him?
   3.  Bring someone to the meeting that can help keep your emotions in check.  Don't bring someone that is emotional or a know it all.  The calmer you can remain the more you will process.
   4. Do not threaten the committee with lawsuits, due process and/or any kind of litigation.  The school is not scared of lawyers, they have their own.  If you need to sue the school, contact your attorney and do it in a civilized manner.  You come off looking crazy to anyone in earshot and you are only hurting your child's chance of getting the services you believe they need.
   5. Finally, if you feel as though the meeting is getting out of hand -- CALL A RECESS!  Come back in 10 days or less and see if calmer heads have prevailed and you can work through the issues.

I prefer my clients not speak in the meetings.  I know this is difficult, but generally it works out best in the long run.  The goal is to help your child -- Use his or her name as a mantra to stay calm and look at all the issues from both sides.

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