The time immediately after a diagnosis of autism can be frustrating for parents. It might seem simultaneous as if life is changing too quickly, and as if the process to get special needs services is taking too long. One of the first steps in this process is the initial IEP eligibility meeting. The purpose of this meeting is to determine whether your child needs special education in order to receive a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) as mandated by the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).
Enlist the help of a school advocate.
Perhaps the most effective thing you can do to help your child and be well-prepared for the meeting is to speak with a professional special needs advocate. Find out if your child’s autism treatment center offers school advocacy services. These therapists would be well-positioned to inform the IEP process since they work directly with your child. A professional advocate can help you determine if your child is or isn’t receiving the services he or she needs at school.
Bring a support person.
If your child isn’t yet receiving ABA therapy, you should at the very least bring a support person to the meeting, such as your spouse, partner, or a close family friend. The law entitles you to bring anyone who is acquainted with your child and familiar with his or her needs. Ask your support person to take detailed notes during the meeting. Do inform the rest of the IEP team ahead of time if you plan to bring another person to the meeting.
Document everything that happens at the meeting.
Don’t assume that everything said and done at the meeting will automatically be documented by the school. You’ll need to keep your own meticulously detailed records. If you’ve noticed something from your child’s evaluation that needs to be considered by the rest of the IEP team, read it out loud and ask it to be included in the school’s file. Additionally, document every time you make a request and how the team responded to the request.
The experts at The Behavior Exchange provide a full continuum of supportive services to families affected by autism, including ABA therapy and school advocacy services. You can get in touch at (888) 716-8084. One of our ABA therapists near Plano will be happy to offer guidance as you navigate the tricky process of IEP development.
Under federal law, children with autism are entitled to receive an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Each child’s IEP—a written document—is developed for his or her specific needs and achievement goals, and it’s updated periodically. But it’s often hard for parents to know exactly what their kids need to reach their full potential, which is why The Behavior Exchange is pleased to offer our school advocacy services, including IEP assistance.
Our ABA therapists can review your child’s IEP to ensure that it meets his or her needs. This document should include reasonable, specific, and measurable goals, and it should clearly identify the accommodations and modifications your child is entitled to receive in school. We can also attend your child’s Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) meetings to advocate for him or her in a positive, yet firm way.
Call (888) 716-8084 to consult one of our ABA therapists near Plano, and let us know how we can help your child with autism succeed in the classroom. The Behavior Exchange is committed to improving quality of life for the families we serve.
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