Back to School: Know Your Child's IEP Team
If you are sending your child off to preschool for the first time or maybe you are sending them to a new school this year, today's post is for you! Building a rapport with the professionals working with your child is vital to their progress and will be instrumental as you make decisions in the future. Now is the time! Read below to learn what to do:
- Reach out to your child's therapists - Most therapists will send home a "welcome back to school" note, introducing themselves, letting you know the days and times your child will receive therapy, etc. They may send you their contact information and the best way(s) to get in touch with them. If they do, RESPOND! Acknowledge their note and let them know you are an involved parent who is concerned about your child's progress. IF you DON'T receive a note from your child's therapist(s), initiate communication. Send a note or call the school, maybe even stop by for a visit. Set up a line of communication and build a relationship with the individuals working with your child.
- Find out HOW they will communicate with you - Ongoing communication with teachers and therapists throughout the school year is important. In the past, we used email to interact with parents; however we now use a communication book which travels back and forth between home and school with the child. All of the students' teachers and therapists, as well as their parents/caregivers write in this notebook. Homework and follow-up activities are attached to it as well. Find out the policy at your child's school so that you are aware of WHO is working with your child, WHAT they are working on and HOW things are going.
- Ask them to send home activities to work on at home - I always love when parents ask how they can support their child's communication skills at home. The work we do at school is only improved when reinforced at home. Homework and follow-up activities are imperative for your child's success!
- Review your child's IEP goals - Take out your child's IEP and review the goals. Look for work to come home that supports their goals and what they should be working on. If you don't have it, lost it or never received a copy, contact your child's school and ask for a copy of the IEP to be sent home.
- Request a face-to-face meeting - Although this is not mandatory, as a parent you can request a meeting at any time, so if you feel like it is necessary, request to meet with your child's teachers and therapists to discuss all the topics listed above and any other concerns you may have.
Best of Luck for a Happy and Successful 2014-2015 School Year!