After Hours with Education Advocate Lisa Carey: Assessments, Accommodations, and Parent Training
In our latest Office Hours session — where you can drop in on Zoom every other Wednesday from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. and have face-to-face time with specialists, providers, and Undivided team members — Education Advocate Lisa Carey answered questions about IEP prep, getting the support your child needs, and parent training.
Q: I need to fill out a questionnaire as part of the assessment process. How do I fill it out? I'm concerned that the process seems so negative.
A: Fill out the questionnaire honestly and to the best of your ability. Keep a copy for your records. There will be a lot of deficits about your child thrown your way, and it can help to create a strength-based IEP to showcase your child’s abilities.
Q: What can I do if I disagree with the assessment?
A: Know your rights! If you don’t agree with the assessment, tell everyone you do not agree and request an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE). You can contact local support groups for provider recommendations outside the school, as it’s always helpful to have a second pair of eyes.
Go through the assessment with highlighters and look at areas of strength and areas of need. Those are all areas that you and the team can write goals on. Those goals drive the services. Write down your questions in the margin next to the subject.
Remember: If you don’t write a goal, you’re not going to get a supporting service!
Schools are required to facilitate parent participation. If your district provides draft IEPs and you receive it late, you have the right to reschedule or go to the IEP meeting and not sign the IEP. Sign the attendance and then take time to review the IEP. You can have a two-part IEP meeting.
Q: My child is still not getting the accommodations he needs. What can I do?
A: Get it in the IEP! An IEP is a written legal document. If you ask for an accommodation and it is written in the IEP, but is not being provided, you have grounds to file against the school district.
Q: What can we do as parents to address the aide shortage?
A: Start showing up at school board meetings. If you don’t feel comfortable going in person, you can email all your board members and learn who the cabinet of your district is in order to reach out and make these problems known.
Q: A new software was introduced that is being used at school but I’m not sure how to use it at home. How do I go about learning this?
A: Parent training is a part of the IEP. If there is new software that your child will be using at school and at home (such as assistive technology), identify and include in the IEP who is going to teach your child, what the software is, and ask for a parent training session.