Are you thinking about having an advocate at your child’s next IEP or 504 meeting? Make sure you are bringing someone with knowledge and expertise as an educator in the school setting. IEP’s (and 504’s) are so much more than beautifully written goals and objectives.
A great IEP is a delivery model whose success hinges on when, where and how that delivery occurs. While the goals of an IEP are based on your child’s needs, as they relate to their disability and performance, how the IEP is implemented is not often part of the discussion.
If the person you bring with you to an IEP meeting has no direct instructional experience in a school, they most likely will not be able to advocate for meaningful implementation of those agreed upon supports, accommodations and modifications.
You are the expert on how an identified disability affects your child at home and in daily life. No one knows your child better than you do, when they are with you. However, a great IEP is not about your child when they are with you. It is about meeting their needs, as they present in school - now!
The diagnostician knows about your child’s disability and how it may possibly play out in your child’s life. However, we need to remember that children are more than their diagnosis. A great IEP addresses your child’s specific needs as presented in school. It is not about getting everything a child with your child’s disability gets. It is about meeting your child’s specific needs in school - now!
Advocacy for the change of and/or the delivery of an effective IEP is much more than knowing the law. The law is what the captain of the Titanic saw above the surface of the water. It is the have-to’s not how-to’s. “Knowing the law” does not make something that is required for your child’s success happen in a meaningful and productive manner. An effective, deliverable IEP is not about the law. It is about meeting your child’s specific needs in school - now!
As an educator who has sat on the school side of the IEP table, I understand how IEP's are implemented. I know the tough questions to ask and what systems need to be put in place to ensure that the plan not only sounds good but actually delivers on the intent of the plan.
It is a waste of your time, money, and more importantly, your child’s time to have an advocate sitting at an IEP meeting that has never worked on the school side of the table. Your advocate needs to listen like a teacher, ask questions like a teacher and support the whole team in putting into place better teaching and supports that serve to grow your child into competency - now and for the future.