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The Ultimate Checklist for IEP Prep with Education Advocate Lisa Carey

The Ultimate Checklist for IEP Prep with Education Advocate Lisa Carey

Published: Jun. 8, 2023Updated: May. 2, 2024

Whether you have a couple days or a few weeks before your IEP meeting, it’s time to get organized! In our Facebook live event, Undivided Education Advocate and Navigator Lisa Carey gave us key information parents should consider when preparing for our children’s IEP meetings. Carey has advocated for hundreds of families during IEPs including her own and has all the tips and tricks you need!

To see the highlights, check out the event recap in our article The Ultimate Checklist for IEP Prep, or watch the full replay above.

Full event transcript

Lindsay Crain 00:14 Hey everybody. Welcome to Undivided live. I'm Lindsay Crain and I head the content and community teams here at Undivided. And we are neck deep into IEP season. And if you're here, chances are you might be feeling it too. Maybe you're a "I have one week before the IEP and better start thinking about it" kind of person, or do you start making lists and calls a month or two ahead of time? Let us know in the chat how long you give yourself to prepare for your child's IEP. And if you think you're a procrastinator, I could promise you, you're in good company here. So as we're gonna go along today, I'd love for you to share your planning and prepping tips with everyone else. So throw your genius in the chat and we can all learn from each other. Because there's a lot to gather, to review, to consider, and to prioritize with your team. So whether you have a couple days or a few weeks at some point, like it or not, it's time to get organized. So thankfully, Undivided education advocate and Navigator Lisa Carey is back to alleviate the stress and hone in on the most important things that we should consider when preparing for our IEP meetings. Thus, the ultimate IEP prep checklist was born. Lisa has advocated for hundreds of families during IEPs, including her own. She's also the mother of three boys with disabilities. Hello, Lisa, welcome back.

Lisa Carey 01:30 Hi, I'm excited to be here.

Lindsay Crain 01:31 Woo! Our Community Manager Donna who I have to say fresh back from Paris so we can all be jealous. But Donna is back. And she's with one of our Undivided Navigators, Iris, they are in the chat with you. They're sending your questions to me and Lisa, so please fire away any questions in the chat and we're gonna get to whatever we can. And if you still have questions, questions after today, or you want one to one support, our Navigators love helping parents get organized, which is easy with our step by step guides, and the Undivided super binder all housed in our desktop and mobile app. And we all know that school stress exists far beyond IEP meetings, unfortunately. And that's why our Navigators are available for Boost calls. And with just the touch of a button through the Navigator chat in our Undivided app, because there's a lot to manage in our lives, and we all deserve a partner. So Donna shared the link where you can learn more about our free Kickstart where you can start working with a Navigator within days. So another way you can start prepping with us is to check out our free parent resource hub, Donna is going to share the link in the chat, where you can find all the article links that we're going to be sharing throughout our chat today and more. Our resources cover everything from IEPS to Regional Center to Medi-Cal, insurance denials, and more, you can find it all there. And lastly, if you want to receive all the latest articles that we're working on as soon as they're ready, you can sign up for our weekly newsletter, so you don't miss a thing. So Donna is going to share that link as well. And then you should be all set. So now you have all this information at your fingertips. So let's organize. It is time to start building your ultimate IEP prep list. So before you even start prepping for that IEP, it's a good idea to root everything that you're doing in the why, right, what are we working towards? So Lisa, can you talk about creating a vision statement and why parents should consider presenting one at their child's IEP?

Lisa Carey 03:22 Yeah, sure. So before I answer your question, we have all been sick at my house, not COVID thank goodness, but my voice is luckily working. But I'm a bit squeaky so forgive me. So the why. So I like to think about, you know, we're all raising children, but we're not actually raising children, right? We're raising adults. At the end of this, right, we're going to have adults, they're not going to be children anymore. So that's sort of your end goal, right? And so when you're thinking about the why, a lot of parents like to create a vision statement, which it can and it can be whatever works for you. So when I say this, don't think oh gosh, I have to write out this this complicated paper. It can be a sentence, it can be lots of sentences, it can be bullet points. It can be long term goals. My personal vision statement for my youngest is long term goals that I hope that he will have accomplished by the time he finishes with the school district. So it literally says things like we'll be able to navigate a campus independently. So but but other people will write a vision statement that resembles more like a mission statement that you might see a business have that might say something like they want their child to have meaningful relationships and love learning and have a rich social life. So whatever works for how your brain works, but it's sort of a a what is it you're trying to get in the long run. And it should be a living document, meaning you have a three year old and the vision statement that you write today is going to mostly be what you want. But by the time your child is teenager play, you can include some of what your teenager wants in in there.

Lindsay Crain 05:19 Exactly. It may grow as your child grows, right, some of the big things maybe are going to always stay. But you can always you can always adjust that. And it's we've heard from a lot of parents who started presenting this at IEPs, and it's really meaningful, it's a good way to remind everybody in the room, what you're working towards, right? All of this is not just for this one meeting, right? It's building up, right, and hopefully a lifetime of good things to come. And so Lisa, once we have our vision statement, we know what we're working towards. And so now it's time to gather pieces of everything that's been happening with our child this year, and then organize it. And so before we talk specifics, I think it's important that we reiterate the two golden rules of IEP documentation: save everything, and document. So, Lisa, why are these rules so important when that IEP meeting comes around?

Lisa Carey 06:10 Yeah, so there, you know, there's a few reasons why it can be helpful to save everything. And when I say everything, I'm talking about any work that comes home, whether it be you know, on the computer, or physical paper, any notes or emails that come home from the school. You don't need to worry about me, you know, if your kids in ninth grade, I don't necessarily care about kindergarten and first grade, though, that's really cute for their baby book or baby box. But I'm talking about this school year, and possibly the previous school year, depending where your IEP falls, if your IEP is in August or September, then yeah, we need you want to have access to the previous school year stuff. You want to document everything so that when you go to prepare for your IEP, you can remember if your IEP is in, you know, August, you're not going to remember what happened the previous September with great detail, most likely, right. And also, if you have a conversation on the phone or in person with someone at the school, that you feel is significant, not how was your weekend, but if they say to you, you know that there's a new behavior happening, or the child's refusing to go to see the OT or whatever it is, right, or they're falling behind on a subject, I would follow that up with an email to the teacher, or whoever that staff member was. And just simply, you know, always, I always talk about being cooperative, and collaborative is the starting point and just say, you know, thank you so much for sharing this information with me. And to clarify, you shared with me that my child is having this new behavior, please keep me updated if anything changes. And at least you you've documented it in writing. So when your IEP comes, you can remember if you know that that conversation took place. It also gives the school an opportunity to tell you that you misunderstood or they didn't present the information in a way that they meant to.

Lindsay Crain 08:14 Right, which I guess Lisa, it's sort of the the the unspoken, I guess the third golden rule that we hear over and over is if it's not written down, it didn't happen. Right, which is why it's important to document everything, even if it's just your own notes.

Lisa Carey 08:27 Yeah, for sure. For sure.

Lindsay Crain 08:30 So let's start. Let's start gathering info. Right, we're going to start with requests from for the district sorry, requests for the district. So let's assume that we have our IEP date. So what are some common things that parents might consider requesting from their school or district teams when prepping for that?

Lisa Carey 08:48 Yeah, before I before I answer your question, sorry to do this to you. I'm just want to go back to your previous question. There's one thing that I want to comment that I do personally when I'm preparing for an IEP. I have a document on my computer because that's what works for me, right? You guys may want to use paper or your phone, whatever. And it is just I call it IEP notes on my child, and as the year goes on, even if the IEP is six months away, and something pops into my head, I will put it on that document, you know, like for example that discussion I just talked about about behavior I might write you know, you know, September eloping is getting worse. What's the plan to prevent? Right? Now, I may not wait six months to discuss this. But you know, if if, if if it gets worse, I'm going to call an IEP sooner, I have this on my notes is my point. So I kind of throw things on there to help me remember and I'm sorry I went out of order. But your question was...

Lindsay Crain 09:49 I was going to say though after you just said that and Carrie here. She just said something great in the chat, which I'll put up here. She said if anything in this letter is incorrect, please reply within a reasonable amount of time. Something, you know, maybe good to put at the end of if you're following up with somebody on your team.

Lisa Carey 10:09 Yeah, if it's whatever it is that discussion is something important. And if it's if it's a passing sort of behavior thing, you don't necessarily need to put that. But if it's, you know, something of significance, you can put something like that. Yeah, it's something that, I am sorry, my voice, see, I told you guys, something that I have done in the past too is it's super important that I get the school to respond to that email just to say, Hey, I got this email. I'll throw something at the very end, that'll force a response. That's usually not relevant. This is kind of funny, but it's something like, Oh, my daughter got these great flip flops with rhinestones and can't wear to wait to wear them to school tomorrow. And you know, the school is gonna respond and say, Oh, no, no, we you're not allowed to wear flip flops, no flip flops at school, have her bring a picture, whatever, right? And at least you you've got confirmation, they got the email I've been known to do that. It doesn't, it doesn't you know, or do you still need a volunteer for whatever next week? Or do you have enough toilet paper rolls or something that sort of, even if they don't want to respond to whatever you said in the rest of the email, they'll typically respond there. I know, it's a little it works.

Lindsay Crain 11:23 You know, you have to sometimes you have to do make sure everyone's on the same page. Everyone's getting your information. And we'll be talking about this throughout too. But Jen, I put Jen's comment up there as well that she likes to use the Undivided app to keep all of her documents we have. Yep, our super binder in the app, it's really easy to like, you know, type up your notes, put them in the binder, and you can, you know, that'll be right next to anything else that you upload, right, all these things we're going to be collecting from the district, which, you know, we should, which I know was our question that we can go back to Lisa, but what should we be requesting from the district at this point?

Lisa Carey 12:01 Okay, yeah. So when you have an IEP meeting coming up, there's a few things that you want to do. First, in California, you have a right to audio record your meeting, it's so funny, because before COVID, I never would say the words audio record. But you have a right to record audio of your meeting, you just have to let them know with 24 hours in advance, you're not actually requesting permission, you're just informing them. You're gonna want to, if there are assessments, not every IEP has assessments. But if there are assessments being done, you want to request a copy of the assessment prior to the meeting. This is super important, because one of the main points of IDEA, which is, you know, the the federal law about special education, is the school is required to facilitate meaningful parental participation. How can you meaningfully participate when you are just being presented something that is not in your language? And when I say in your language, I mean, a speech therapist is presenting a report that's in speech therapy language, right? An OT is presenting in OT language. So I'm referring to that. How can you meaningfully participate, make decisions, ask questions, if you're just being presented the information right now, and you've got to make decisions and respond right now? Most people can't. And so what I tell parents is when you sign that assessment plan, because anytime they do assessments, you're going to consent, you can write directly on the assessment plan that you want copies prior to the meeting, then when you get your meeting notice saying we're having the meeting this day in time, you can also write your request again on there. And if you still don't have them, when you send your notice that you plan to audio record, you can ask a third time. Right there, you know, "I plan to record, please provide assessments." You can also request a draft of the IEP and/or draft of the goals or drafts of the PLOPS, which is a present levels of performance. Some districts if you're not in, you know, if you're not in California, some parts of the country call PLOPS PLEPs, which is present level of educational performance. And not I do want to say that not all districts will provide drafts. So don't leave this and say, Well, I can't get a draft for my district. Yes, a lot of districts don't and they actually are not required to. A lot of districts are concerned that by providing a draft, it appears that they're making decisions outside of an IEP meeting, and so they don't want to provide it. So don't be surprised if that happens. And then the last thing is, well, sort of the last thing is work samples if you you know have an OT assessment and they tested the fine motor skills, or even work samples from the classroom if the teacher has not been sending home classwork or whatnot, ask if they have any work samples you can review. And then the last thing which kind of goes back to the draft IEP is that if the present levels reference data, or the the draft IEP is referencing data, especially, you know, like for behavior, sometimes they're going to be taking data, ask to see a copy of the data or have that provided to you.

Lindsay Crain 15:28 Yeah, very important. I can't tell you how many times that I've talked to families who've requested that and it doesn't exist. And a lot of times, or you can see that there's like five pieces of data that maybe were taken right before an IEP. So when you're talking about a whole semester of, of progress, and there's only you know, maybe a handful of pieces of data, then, you know, that's just part of the story. So these are some of the big requests from the district. Lisa, what do we need to gather from our child's private or non-school care teams?

Lisa Carey 16:02 Yeah, so if your child is seeing outside providers for therapies, like speech, or OT, you want to ask them for any reports or data. Now, they may not have a report, and they may say, Do you need me to make you a report? Not necessarily, okay, some team, some outside providers, like ABA agencies, are required to create reports every so often for insurance. So they will probably have a report or a recent report. If it's somebody that doesn't have that requirement, you just want to kind of get their input from them. What are you working on in speech with my child, right? And how is my child progressing? And these are the school goals that they've had. Have you noticed any improvement in this area? You know, if the school goal is, you know, an articulation goal in speech therapy, typically an articulation goal will specify what sounds they're working on. Right? So the private speech therapist should easily be able to say, oh, yeah, I'm hearing those sounds, no, I'm not hearing those sounds. If there's any work samples from that, you know, OT or whatnot, you're gonna get those. And then I also say, it's good to get any recommendations from them. If they say, oh, yeah, they're doing really well in this area, I would love to see them working on this other area, get their recommendations, so you can at least sort of have some input on the goals. And then the last thing is, if you have a medical child, you're going to want to just touch base with their doctor to see if their doctor has any concerns about their attending school. Oftentimes, your your child is a medical kid, you already kind of know this. It may not be any sort of change. But there are certain changes, like in Los Angeles, kindergarteners don't do PE, they start PE typically in first grade. So your doctor might say, well, now your child's going to first grade for PE, only low impact activities, or something like that. So it can't hurt to touch base with the doctor if if your child fits that category.

Lindsay Crain 18:03 Absolutely. And and lastly, what do we need to gather from our child or our own records?

Lisa Carey 18:12 Yeah, so if your child is, you know, able to communicate, however they communicate, I would find out from them to the best of their ability, how school is going, what is their perspective, right? What is their story about school? For a little bit older children, if they are the kind that are going to say, I don't know, everything's fine.

Lindsay Crain 18:38 13 year old.

Lisa Carey 18:39 I get that, yes, I have two teenagers, and a 10 year old, so I hear you. So you can also do it a little bit differently and say, Tell me three things that are going great and three things that you want changed, or three things that are not going well, or whatever works for your child. That's one way to do it. Another thing you're gonna want to gather, and I also want to say if your child is not communicative, I have two that are and one that is not okay. We know how to read our kids. So just think about what messages you've been getting from your child in their nonverbal way. When you pick them up and drop them off, right? At the beginning of the year, were they super happy to get out of the car and the last couple of months, you're having to physically pull them out of the car, right? That is something that they're communicating and telling you, so you know, think about that too when you're, you know, doing that. The other things you want to get from your kids, or maybe your own records. We already talked about homework and classwork so work samples. So if you have maybe a teenager who hides everything, ask to see their backpack, their binder, or go in the room and dig around and see if you can find some stuff. The progress reports, report cards, you know, teachers notes, emails and things we've already looked at.

Lisa Carey 18:47 Google Classroom, I would have to say. If you never see anything you can at least log on to the Google classroom.

Lisa Carey 20:04 Right and, and whatever your school, almost all the schools have something, they have Aries, they have Schoology. They have I mean, the list goes on and on. So make sure that you have access, you know, to those things. You can see what assignments are being turned in, and what aren't, what grades are there and so on. That's really important.

Lindsay Crain 20:24 Yeah, and Shari, I see Shari made a great point to a lot of people. I know a lot of parents have done this. She said, I'm having my son's second portion of his IEP and inviting his private speech and floor time providers, which is fabulous. Yeah, that's amazing that that you can wrangle that Shari. And so all right. So Lisa has just gone through a lot, right. So we've gathered a lot. And so now's the fun part, right, it's time to review. And I know this can really feel overwhelming, it can be overwhelming. So let's, let's break it down. So we're trying to put together our child's story from the past year so we can learn what's working and what isn't. And we use this information to inform how they'll reach their goals next year. So I like putting everything I have in date order. This is just me, because that can be an important note, right? Let's say my child was identifying numbers in September and working on those same numbers in May, that may raise some questions that I didn't know that I had. So let's take a couple of examples of what we've gathered. And Lisa, and it'd be great if you can give us some top tips that we can we can consider while reviewing because again, it can be really overwhelming. So assessments, right school and private assessments. What do we need to pay attention to?

Lisa Carey 21:36 Well. Oh, there goes my voice. Sorry, guys. Um, so the first thing that you guys, well, I mean, I'm gonna repeat this, if you've ever listened to me in a Facebook Live or read our articles, I always say the same thing, get a couple highlighters out, use one highlighter for strengths, one highlighter for weaknesses, or whatever you want to do, right? When you're reviewing an assessment, the first thing I always ask a parent is, does this feel like your kid? Was there anything surprising, right? Sometimes they'll say this didn't feel like my kid at all, like, you know, or Oh, yeah, that's my kid. Right? So just what did it feel like when you read it? Were you were you shocked? Were you surprised? As you're going through it if you have questions on the assessment, I always say put questions in the margins right next to where it came up. So that when they're going through the assessment during the meeting, you remember the question at the right time when the report is reviewed. You said school and private, if you do have a private assessment, compare them, right. I mean, you want to make sure if you know if the OT says the child can't draw a circle and the school OT says they can draw circles all day long, there's a disconnect, right? So you can compare them and that can provide some helpful information. And I can't remember what I was going to say, how funny is that? Oh, you said assessments. And I was starting to think about progress reports and classwork so that's what threw me. Sorry.

Lindsay Crain 23:17 Yeah, yeah. No, I was gonna say after, yeah. Because I mean, this is, you know, a high level, right, we've done entire, like, hour long, you know, events, which if you look at our resource hub, you can find that when I've talked to, you know, when Lisa and I have talked about assessments, so we're doing high level, those, I think those are such important notes. Again, everything you've gathered is what you're reading here lining up with what you know, what you see, and what other professionals are seeing, then that is absolutely a conversation. And so Lisa, you mentioned progress reports. Let's talk about that next because I feel like that's something that a lot of parents, you know, they're kind of paying attention to, but maybe not really. So what what do we need to be looking at when we're looking at our child's progress reports?

Lisa Carey 23:59 Yeah, you know, progress reports. And in progress reports and report cards are basically the same thing in my head, I know to the school that they're different because one is official and one is not. But they are the same thing. I tend to, I'm one of those that kind of tends to ignore most of what the progress report shows in the grading because my child's on a modified curriculum. So it's kind of meaningless. What I pay attention to the most, and by the way, I'm not telling anyone to ignore, I do look at it, but it's the what I'm getting out is the important part is that the comments, whatever the teacher wrote in that progress report or report card, I want to know how that kind of lines up with the present levels in the IEP. Keep in mind that teachers are given, I don't know the rules exactly. But they're they have to present things a certain way on progress reports and report cards are supposed to use certain phrases and avoid other phrases. But you know, if a teacher is saying their participation for example, you know, in this trimester, so and so's participation has improved. And then you get to the IEP and they say, oh, it's gotten worse, you know, you can find out what the disconnect is. I don't think that anyone is is necessarily lying. But I want to make sure that when we're writing goals and planning for the next year for the child, we're understanding where we're starting. You can't plan to go somewhere if you don't know where you're at. So this is really about figuring out where we're at. And the same thing with with homework or classwork or work samples from providers, if they are, it's adding to the story, it's it's just part of the story, is it progressing? Or regressing? Hopefully not, right? If, you know, suddenly a child's losing a skill that's very significant? Or is the child progressing? And are they progressing enough?

Lindsay Crain 25:52 Right. Absolutely. And in the example that I gave just a minute ago, like, you know, my child might be identifying the same numbers in September, and May, we could look at that in two different ways. Right, she may show no understanding or progress towards her goal within that timeframe, doing the same work all year. And that tells a story, or my child has identified numbers in September, and she did well on tests and has work samples showing that she knows those numbers, yet, she's still doing the same work in May, that also tells a story. So like Lisa said, we have to look for how that work is progressing, and how our child is progressing or not progressing. So because we're viewing all these different pieces of information from our child's year can start informing or shaping our list of concerns. And a common recommendation that we hear is that parents should send their list of concerns to the IEP team before the meeting. However, there there might be some considerations and what we include, do you want to expand on them?

Lisa Carey 26:50 Yeah, so I, it's funny, because I try not on these lives to say anything too controversial. And so there's going to be two different schools of thought on this. Me, I don't recommend people do this. I do you recommend more like an agenda that might list out the items the parent wants to discuss, like, maybe, you know, you want to discuss the behavior plan or home communication or social skills, that's okay. But I don't like people that I work with, or for my own kids, to get too into the weeds of in detail. And the reason for this is because if you are going to ultimately be seeking something the school doesn't want to give you, this gives them a great opportunity to prepare their arguments against it before you're able to present your argument for it, if that makes sense. You know, so if I really would rather this discussion be within the confines of the IEP meeting that's being recorded, instead of them having, you know, going and talking to this person and talking to that person and looking up this regulation and coming back prepared to say, No, it's just, but there are advocates out there who will absolutely disagree with me, and many of them are really amazing, wonderful advocates.

Lindsay Crain 28:14 Yeah, I think, you know, we always want to approach IEPs with collaboration. But we also do have to, sometimes there there is some strategy around IEPs. And you know, at the IEP, you're going to put it out there, you're going to say what you want, but there are ways that you can phrase things, you can maybe say there's concerns with behavior, instead of saying in your concern, like we're requesting, you know, a one to one, it's like, you know, there's there's many ways like you're saying, Lisa to make sure like here's things we want to discuss without going into detail.

Lisa Carey 28:46 And, and the agenda idea, too, that I that I mentioned, where I said, oftentimes I look at this as like an agenda. I don't even do that for most IEPs. But where I do do that is when I'm going into an IEP with a parent who has historically not been heard and not listened to or gets to the end of the meeting and is told we're out of time. And they never got to discuss what they want to discuss. That's when I'll use an agenda provided in advance to sort of force the school to make time for the parent. I have one particular, you know, school that that is notorious for this, and I will always provide an agenda of of what the parent wants to discuss in advance.

Lindsay Crain 29:29 That's great. And Alison, I see Allison's giving some great recommendations in the chat about how her students are not on the modified curriculum. And she's talking about like tools to really, she has to compare progress with the rest of the class, not just IEP goal progress. So definitely check out the chat. Those are some great suggestions that Alison's sharing as well. And speaking, you know, talking about like what we're going to be asking for, right this agenda, there's going to be things every IEP, we're going to have requests, maybe little maybe large. And it's important that we prepare for our requests, even if it's just organizing thoughts in our head, you know, we can't just go in with all of our very valid emotions and say, you know, this is how it should be, I mean, you can, but it's also a good idea to backup those emotions with some hard facts. So I want to take two major concerns or requests that we hear over and over. And I'd love for you, Lisa to share the best way that parents can prepare for these requests. So we can really understand the right way to represent our child's needs in an IEP. So I'd like to take two examples, aides and placement. And so number one, let's take a request for a one to one aide, how should a parent prepare?

Lisa Carey 30:40 Okay, so if you if you believe your child needs an aide, I recommend, first of all, I am not against aides, I have a child with an aide actually, two of my three kids had an aide, I think aides are very valuable when used appropriately. So I would really think about why your child needs an aide. I would make sure that you're not saying your child needs an aide just because you're nervous about them going to school, because if the goal is an adult, an adult, right, we want them to learn independence. And it's it can be hard with an aide because aides are often not used well. So really give some thought and maybe make a list for yourself. Why does your child need an aide? Does your child need an aide from drop off to pick up? Does your child need an aide only for academics? Why is the aide there? Is the aide there because they have safety concerns, like they might elope or climb or skin pick or something. So having a clear understanding of their needs will help you present your requests in a clearer way. Also, just like any sort of negotiation, if you feel your child needs an aide only for academics per se, that gives you some negotiating room with this district with the school, you can say well, my child needs an aide. And then as the conversation goes on, you can say you know what, actually, I think there'll be okay during lunch and specials, and they just really need it for academics to refocus, right? Obviously, if the aide is needed for safety, you don't have that room, you do need from drop off to pick up. And that's absolutely valid. So just have a clear understanding before the meeting, without your emotions, when it's just you and your partner or friend, whatever, putting together kind of what specifically a child needs an aide for the bathroom, for safety, for attention and focus, like put together a list and maybe put together a list of what your child doesn't need an aide for. Because even if they do need an aide full time, there's going to end, and let's say they get a full time aide, then there should be discussion about the aide's role in school. And the times that the child may not necessarily need an aide, then you can ask them to please have the aid backup, be six feet away so they're available, but so the child can learn some independence. For example, maybe they do really well in music because it's a preferred subject as a preferred thing they want to be there, then the aide might be able to sit across the room and give some space during that time. So just really think about it is is really what my answer is.

Lindsay Crain 33:11 Well, and and is there anything that a parent needs to bring to the table to show these needs, Lisa? Is it enough that we're saying, I mean, obviously the this is this is what they need? Do we need a report from somebody else? You know, one of our other, you know, one of their providers. Is is that a good idea for parents to bring?

Lisa Carey 33:32 So, it depends. If this is your child's first IEP, absolutely, because they they've only you know, when your child is two and a half or three and they go in for that assessment, they met your child for what, an hour? With 40 people, I'm being dramatic, but that's what it feels like to most parents, in the room at the same time asking questions. And you know, so yes, absolutely. Especially if it's for safety. If the child has already been at school, they're going to heavily rely on how the child behaves at school. So if the child for example, elopes at home, but never at school, you've got a really hard argument because the child's been at that school, they've observed the child at school, the child's never eloped. It doesn't matter really, if the child does it all the time at home if he never does it at school, right? So potentially, it can be helpful. Maybe not. Where it's absolutely required is when it's medical. So if you have a child that has medical needs, and they have an aide for medical reasons, then you're going to need some forms filled out by the doctor that explains whatever it is, a G tube or a trach or seizure protocol or whatever it is.

Lindsay Crain 34:44 Well, all right, which makes sense, right, depending on what we're asking for. I know I'm like an over, I'd rather have that backup, you know, as much as it's required, right? It's always a good idea. You know, so you don't get the possible like, okay, that's what mom says. Right? So it's good to have backup if if it makes sense for the scenario, right? You don't have to overdo it.

Lisa Carey 35:07 Yeah, I, I do think backups are important. But if the child has been in school, then they're going to have their own observations of the child. And if you bring in something that's totally different, it doesn't mean that you're going to prevail the way that you want, you know? And again, if you disagree with what they're seeing at school, you don't think it's correct. That's a whole different discussion, by the way, like, that doesn't mean oh, we have to accept what they say. There is, you know, a different Facebook Live, but you can do independent assessments and stuff too.

Lindsay Crain 35:42 Yes, absolutely. Yes. Yes. Alright, so number two, placement. Right. So I want to kind of cover, you know, both ends of the placement spectrum. So first, what is the most important thing for parents to prepare if they're recording, or if they're requesting inclusion for students with more involved support needs? How do we prepare?

Lisa Carey 36:04 Okay, so I think that that this is kind of my opinion, this part, but I think schools are sort of become numb to walking in with all of our scientific articles about why inclusion is best, or I'm sorry, not scientific, as the studies that we have on why inclusion is most beneficial. I think they've seen them 100 times and they're not listening anymore. So what I do, I mean, sure, bring that stuff in. I'm not telling you not to, by the way, but what I would think about is how would your child benefit from inclusion, specifically your child? What skills do they need to work on that would be better worked on with neurotypical children? For example, would speech models be helpful? Would if your child was placed in a special education classroom, are they really good at imitating? And would they likely imitate and pick up other behaviors that that are not necessarily the right ones or the ones we want? So think about what would benefit your child, in inclusion. And then you can also write goals that that would require typically developing children as far as, for example, speech goals, that's a really good place to do it, right. And you can write right into goals that you're looking for your child to engage with the community, the school community at large, not just one little classroom. Right. So that's one way to approach inclusion.

Lindsay Crain 37:36 Well, I love that too. And I was actually going to ask you, so I'm glad that you sort of said the the studies because like you said, I mean, but it's important to sort of, you know, it is important to at least know when you're going in how to frame, you know, what 40 years of research has shown, but then also, like you said, talk about, specifically, why you're asking for that and how you want that to benefit your child. Right?

Lisa Carey 37:59 Right. So make it make it make it relevant to YOUR child, right? Like the studies are important, the studies have value. But we want to talk about this specific child and how it's going to affect and benefit that child.

Lindsay Crain 38:14 Right. And then on the other end of the spectrum, right? Let's say we have a family who wants to request a nonpublic school placement for their child. So how should they prepare for that request going into the meeting?

Lisa Carey 38:26 So just to to, I want to make sure everyone knows what a non public school is versus a private school. A non public school is a school that is not public, that has a contract with your district to educate children from the district. So when a child is placed in an NPS, the school that they were at previously, they're still considered a student from that of that school. So you'll still have IEP meetings, that school that they were at prior will participate in the IEP meetings, and they're still considered a public school student. A private school, there is no contract, and there typically is no IEP that the private school engages in. So if it's if it's if a family wants an NPS, there's a lot you know, there's a lot that goes into it, I mean, the first thing I would do is obviously go tour the NPS and make sure you actually want it, make sure you're happy, you like the school, tell the NPS about your child. And then I would recommend that you consider speaking to an attorney or an advocate before bringing it up in the IEP so you can make sure that you cover all your bases. But an NPS is something that they can put on an IEP and give you in an IEP meeting. Presuming that the NPS accepts your child. A private school is not something they can put on an IEP or give you in an IEP meeting.

Lindsay Crain 40:00 And I see that we did have a question from Mandy, she was asking would diapering count as medical? Probably some of those.

Lisa Carey 40:12 No, generally, no. I'm saying generally no, if there was like a colostomy bag or something like that, yes, but just a child who's in diapers? No, that would just be a regular aide support. Somebody has to take them into a private restroom. Most schools will have a private restroom often in the nurse's office with equipment for changing older children.

Lindsay Crain 40:39 Yeah. All right. And speaking about placement, I did want to ask because we had had a conversation recently that a lot of families want to tour available placements before the IEP, which would make sense, right, but it's not always that easy or straightforward, right, Lisa?

Lisa Carey 40:55 Yeah. So. So it's horrible for the IEP, most schools aren't going to share with you, and not always okay, but a lot of schools won't share with you what they're considering because that could be viewed viewed as predetermination. You can certainly ask and say that you want to take a look before the meeting. You can even try to phrase it and say, Well, you know, my kid is three, and you only have, you know, this type of class and this type of class and this type of class. So can I just go tour all three, right? But don't be surprised if they say no. When they do offer you a placement in the IEP that is a first time placement or a placement that is different than where your child is now, I recommend that you ask at that point to view this placement. Since COVID, we've had a lot of difficulties with that. And we could go into a whole hour discussion, but I'll quickly say that denying you the right to view placement is denying your right to parental participation. How can you sign and agree to an IEP if you have no knowledge about what it is you're agreeing to? So I would definitely view any new placement before you agree to the IEP.

Lindsay Crain 42:11 For sure, just might not be able to be before the IEP. Right, right. All right. So at this point, we reviewed our child's paper trail, we've made our list of concerns, we're prepared to talk about those concerns. So now let's think about where we want our kids to go. Our priorities, their goals. So we'll have our own ideas as will our child's team. So if at all possible, it can be incredibly helpful to touch base with members of our child's IEP team before the IEP meeting. So Lisa, what should parents talk about during that check in call if we can make it happen?

Lisa Carey 42:46 I would I would ask about progress. I would ask about what's working and what isn't, I would ask if they have any new goals to propose, share if you have any priorities that you might want them to start working on, share if you have any new diagnosis that would affect things. I will tell you though that the providers may not talk to you and instead just tell you they're working on the present levels and will present in the meeting. I've heard I've come across that where they say, Oh, I'm working on the present levels, I'll present in the meeting. And this comes from a place where a lot of the schools are really worried about being perceived as having IEP meetings outside of an IEP meeting, or IEP decisions or discussions outside. And they've directed their service providers to not do it when an IEP is coming up. So it is what it is. But those are the things that I would you know, ask about. Oh, and ask them what happens in the sessions, by the way. I don't know, I forgot that. What happens, right? Do they go into the classroom and work with them in the classroom? Does the child want to be there with them? Is the child resistant? Do they take the child from the classroom to the their office? And if so, is the child not doing that transition well, so instead of meeting with the child for half an hour, they only get 10 minutes by the time they get the child from the room across campus into the room settled, you know, so ask what it looks like when they hold their sessions with the child.

Lindsay Crain 44:23 That's a really good point. And also, Lisa, I guess we need to cover, is there anything that parents should not communicate to their team ahead of the IEP when they're having a discussion?

Lisa Carey 44:34 Yeah, I again, I'm all about collaboration and cooperation, but if you're considering due process, it may not be in your best interest to tell them that. That would be a discussion that you'd want to have with your attorney or your advocate. Other than that, I like to tell parents to pretend like there's a judge or your grandmother in the IEP meeting with you. So be calm and professional at all times. That is not to say that you can't be emotional and cry, these are your kids. Okay, so go, you know, I cry in my own kids' IEPs. There you go. I do it even though I tell myself I'm not going to, but just try to pretend like there's a judge or your grandma sitting in the room and try not to be disrespectful or yell at them or do anything that could be perceived by people who aren't been a part of this process is unreasonable or disrespectful.

Lindsay Crain 45:34 Right. While still being honest, obviously.

Lisa Carey 45:41 Absolutely. And if the school has done things that are upsetting to you, you can absolutely tell them, just do so in in a way that that your grandma would be proud of. Right, the stereotypical grandma, right? Like I would not talk in front of my grandmother, right? So that's why, you know, or a judge or your boss or whoever might help you temper, temper your temper.

Lindsay Crain 46:13 Envision that person, right, whoever that might be. So, I mean, obviously, because if we talk to our child's team, you know, ahead of time, the hope is that we can mitigate too many surprises during the IEP, right, let's hope. But let's, let's also talk about the most important things to flag when we're reviewing that draft IEP, because like you said, we might be getting that draft IEP before the IEP, you know, if we're lucky, or maybe after, but I really like to get specific about some of the bigger things that we've been prepping for. So again, we really know what we're looking for. So what are the most important things, questions that parents should be asking themselves when they're reviewing present levels?

Lisa Carey 46:50 Yeah. The first thing I would make sure is do I understand all the terms and all the data that's being shared? If I don't understand certain terms, you can ask a private, your private provider, you can look it up with Google, you can ask for clarification from the school, which, you know, they might just say, well, we'll discuss that in the meeting. Right. So I would, you know, go through and look up any terms or data if you don't, you know, one of the one of the areas that is a challenge is when you look at testing, psycho educational testing, academic testing, right, what is a T score? What is a scale score? What is, you know, the one standard deviation or two standard deviations, right? A lot of people don't understand that. And I'm gonna be honest with you, I've taken many, many classes. And I've looked at it over and over. And I still have to look at a bell curve occasionally to remind myself. Yeah, yeah, like, so taking the time to understand what all of those those things mean, can be very helpful.

Lindsay Crain 47:56 All right. So what are what are the most important questions we should be asking ourselves when reviewing goals?

Lisa Carey 48:04 You know, the most important thing that I can say about goals is, is this goal appropriate in one year from now? I've had so many parents say to me, Well, this goal is way too hard. My child isn't doing, you know, whatever, we this goal isn't going to work. But I have to remind them that if your child you know, this is March and your child's in second grade, right? This goal is supposed to be accomplished when they're at the end of third grade. So almost a fourth grader, right? So remember to think of it is where we want them to be in a year from now? Not right now.

Lindsay Crain 48:43 Right. And what are and I see we have some questions coming up. And I'm gonna get to those in just a second. How can parents, or what are the most important questions that we should be asking ourselves when we're reviewing accommodations?

Lisa Carey 49:00 Um, are they are they realistic? Do they cover all the areas they should? Are there accommodations or are there other accommodations that you or a provider use outside of school that could be helpful to the school? Remember, accommodations are almost always as needed, meaning not every accommodation will be used every single day. And a lot of times parents, like for example, let's say an accommodation is a graphic organizer, right? Well, if your kid sits down and starts the assignment, and is doing really well without the graphic organizer, the teacher isn't going to say, Oh, wait, wait, you need a graphic organizer, you know, so it's going to be as needed. Almost always. So just think about what do you do at home? You know, do you prep for transitions at home and does that help prevent a meltdown? Then prepping for transitions could be an accommodation at school, you know, for example.

Lindsay Crain 49:56 Okay. And what about the same question, but for modifications? What are the most important questions that we should be asking ourselves when reviewing modifications?

Lisa Carey 50:06 The most important question is do you as the parent understand the significance of modifications to your child's academic career? And what I mean by that is that a lot of parents don't realize that when you are, a modification is usually having your child do something that doesn't meet the standard for the grade. Modifications in high school means your child's not going to get a regular typical high school diploma. And that that may be okay for your child and your situation. But but it's awful when a parent doesn't realize that that's what it means. It's just awful. So make sure you understand what the modifications mean. And then if there is going to be modifications, who's responsible for those modifications? Who's doing them? What do they look like? I would ask those questions.

Lindsay Crain 50:58 Yeah, because just because they're written in, it's much harder to then figure out who's doing that. And especially as you're getting to secondary, they're in lots of different classes, important discussion to have of who is responsible. Alright, and so then, last big bucket with this, what other questions we should be asking when we're reviewing related services?

Lisa Carey 51:21 This one, it's kind of hard to know, but I would be looking at are the minutes offered adequate to reach the goals that have been set? So you know, for example, if if a child has four major speech goals, right, and they're offering 20 minutes of speech a week, is that enough to meet all those goals? Probably not. Right? Four goals, 20 minutes a week, that's a lot. So just make sure that the the, the goals match the minutes. And, and by the way, this is also a way to get more service minutes, if you if you think about it, if your child needs a lot of speech, and this is super important to you, make sure you have a lot of speech goals because the minutes need to support the goals.

Lindsay Crain 52:01 Right? And Robin asked a question, you know, that, unfortunately, a lot of us have to deal with and she says, What if they're not reaching the goals that are listed out by the time they had documented? So you're, you know, you're reviewing everything, and you're looking at those progress reports, and you're realizing like a lot of those goals, they haven't been met. What should parents do?

Lisa Carey 52:23 Yeah, so I would, I would first obviously be reasonable and think about if there's any reason why that's obvious to you. Like, maybe the child missed a couple months because they had a medical procedure or, you know, COVID, or whatever. Is there a reason that you're aware of right, right there, right? If the child didn't reach their goal, then obviously, that's a question in the IEP meeting, why did he not reach the goal? I would love for you to find out what their answers are. The reason it's significant is because when the goal was written, everybody in the IEP team agreed that the goal was realistic, agreed that the supports and accommodations and services were put in place for the child to meet that goal. So if the goal wasn't met, something went wrong, right? Just by definition, something is not going right. So I would definitely ask. It is rare that I recommend a goal be, I actually, I'm gonna say never, recommend a goal be repeated exactly the same. There are some goals that you're going to want to keep, but you might want to change some part of it. Examples might be like, if you have a potty training goal, or a toilet training goal, right? We're not going to just say, Oh, didn't meet it in a year, we give up, right? We're gonna still keep working on that, at least most of us, but maybe you want to change it right? Maybe you want to change the amount of prompts needed, or you want to change the amount of adult support needed. Or maybe you're going to add in some accommodations that include an alarm or a vibration on a thing every hour to remind the child, whatever it is. But repeating the goal exactly as it is again is not a good practice.

Lindsay Crain 54:07 No. And Evie also asked, here I'll put yours up there, Evie. You know, how can we encourage the team to create goals that are more aligned to the class curriculum and/or that can be worked on across all settings, not just a specific service provider, which is such a great point, right? You know, we don't want kids working on you know, handwriting, like during their little session pulled out of a class and not while they're doing handwriting, you know, throughout the day and all of their classes if they still teach handwriting, I don't know. I know it's getting less and less.

Lisa Carey 54:39 Well, I mean, I want to answer it kind of backwards. So working across all settings, that can be actually right in the goal, right. You can say that the goal needs to be met across different settings or generalized, right, and then when you start, when they assign who's right sponsible for the goal. For example, let's say it's a writing goal. And so it's the OT right. And when I say writing, I'm talking about the physical act of writing. And it's the OT. Then you can have the teacher classroom teacher also be responsible, classroom teacher and OT that'll also help. Goals that are aligned with the curriculum. Oh, this is just an area Lindsay would love to talk about for hours and hours and hours. I love you, Lindsay. But so if your child is if your child is on not modified work, so they're on the regular curriculum, okay, you can go, and we'll post it in the group later today, so don't panic Donna trying to find this. But there are the state standards that you can easily get off the California Department of Education website, for kindergarten through 12th grade. They're called state standards. For preschool, they're called Learning Foundations. And that's what their goal should should match up to, if they're on the curriculum. If they are not on the curriculum, because you know, they're on modified curriculum, then there is this thing called Core Connectors. And Core Connectors basically break down the state standard into smaller chunks. So for example, let's say the state standard is to write a paragraph. And usually the state standards are a little bit more specific, right? They're gonna say write a paragraph with at least this many sentences with proper punctuation and grammar and blah, blah, blah. Well, then your child's goal could be to write a sentence with proper punctuation and grammar. So it's, it's aligned, but not, you know, not the full standard, if it's not something that's realistic for your child. That's a great question.

Lindsay Crain 56:57 Thank you, Lisa. I am a Core Connector nerd and I do love. And Mandy asked a question, you know, which is a big, you know, I'm sure a very sort of nerve wracking, you know, preparation, how can we prepare for a transfer to another district? So get ready for that IEP knowing that you're going to be transferring, what do parents need to do?

Lisa Carey 57:20 Yeah, that's, that's actually a fun IEP. Because, I mean, the people who were in the IEP team are all humans, right. And if you're leaving the school, it can be easier, if you're leaving the district, it can be easier to get everything you want because they don't have to implement it.

Lindsay Crain 57:39 Right? I've heard that for many.

Lisa Carey 57:43 But on the flip, but on the flip side, right, if you tell them oh, we're leaving, they might not be invested in working hard to get a good IEP for you. So you kind of got to, you know, walk that balance, I would make sure if your child has areas that are very important, okay, like, for example, they do need an aide, but they don't have one, right. So that I would make sure that it's noted in the IEP, if you can't get the aide, right, at least make sure that they put in the notes, you know, how much hands on support the child needs rights, or you could also have something added into the accommodations about close adult supervision needed for safety, because that doesn't mean aide, right. That just means we need to keep an eye on this kid. And I love getting that in accommodations because it can help you with other things like IHSS, just FYI. Um, but if you can't, you know, get it documented right in the IEP, you know, what the school is doing for for the child as far as keeping them safe, because even though the school may not need an aide, somebody is doing something, if your child has safety concerns, for example.

Lindsay Crain 58:57 Right.

Lisa Carey 58:57 And I mean, another another thing too, is I have a actual client with a similar situation right now where their child cannot test well on the academic tasks. But the child can do a heck of a lot more than the academic test show, and they are going somewhere new with this testing that's going to have them teaching this child far below where they're at. So she had them put in the notes from the teachers what they've actually observed while working with the child what the child can and can't do, which is very different than the tasks because the child is a child who doesn't speak with their mouth. And so the tests don't work well for him. So you can also do that.

Lindsay Crain 59:41 I love that. And obviously every IEP we want to really be able to show exactly what our child is doing, you know, and the the things that we want them to be doing or that we're working towards, but especially if you're moving districts, right like and maybe maybe maybe the team would be more open to writing some of those things. Like when you're really leaving, right like, but to really, you know, so then because nobody wants to read a bad IEP and have that be the representation of your child at any time, but certainly starting over again. All right, so we've laid out, you know, we've done all this beautiful prep work, and it's not going to matter at all, and I see the time so we can do this quickly, but it's not going to matter if we can't find anything during the IEP meeting, right? If we can't access what we need to know, so many of us started this journey with three ring binders, almost as tall as our kids. And nowadays, a lot of us build digital binders. And I have to give a shout out to our undivided super binder, Undivided members have access to uploading and organizing all their child's documents in a digital super binder stored right there in the Undivided app alongside our step by step guides and our Parent Resources. So everything they need is all in one place. It makes things really easy to access. But Lisa, how do you suggest that we arrange all this information, digital or paper, so that we can find what we need during the meeting? Because, you know, sometimes it feels like there's a million things going on. And you don't want to be kind of flipping through, like, what was I going to say? Or where's that piece of information? Do you have any recommendations for parents?

Lisa Carey 1:01:05 Yeah, I think that whatever works. I mean, sorry, my answer is not great. But whatever works best for your brain. Finding a system is so important. Because the amount of information, papers, files, it can be overwhelming. I personally use a system that's both digital and paper depending on what I'm actually doing. And I name my digital file, I always think when I name my files, if I'm looking for this, what am I thinking it's called, right? So instead of calling it like "December OT report," I might put like, you know, "December 2023 OT report where scissors was discussed" or something like that, right, because that's what I'm going to be thinking about. Another thing I'll do is I will like put little stickies on the paper copies. And when I go to meetings, and I'll label them, like accommodations, or whatever I know is an area that we need to talk about. So that when we get to that part in the meeting, I can flip to it instead of having to go through the 45-page IEP to find it. So the most important thing is to find a system that works for your brain. Throwing it in a box on over there in the corner isn't going to work because you're not gonna be able to find what you need when you need it. So the app, the Undivided app is amazing. And it's it seems to be getting better all the time, which is crazy, because it was amazing to begin with. And I have lots of parents who have been using that and love it. So you just have to find a system that works for you.

Lindsay Crain 1:02:39 Yeah, and I would also say think about how, unless this is your first IEP and you don't know, think about how your IEP meetings are set up and how they run, the way it works for me is, I mean, I sort of organized by goal. So you know, if it's sort of like starting with reading, and then then I have all my notes there about like present levels or baselines, progress reports, the proposed goals, any of my data that I have from outside sources that are sort of backing up what I'm asking, and that's kind of how our meetings are run. And so after years, I mean, I found that's what works for me, but as you're kind of going, you know, through the years, you know, you'll kind of get like, what does it feel like, and you're gonna know what works and doesn't, but it's, I mean, I remember in the first couple years that I was doing it, I was sort of like looking back and forth, like trying to find what I was looking for. I thought I was organized. And then the meeting went a different way. So anyway, it does help again, think about like what works for your brain. It's exactly what you said.

Lisa Carey 1:03:34 Well, and it's okay to if you're looking and looking is absolutely okay for you to say in the meeting, "Can everybody hold on one minute, I just need to find the report we're talking about," and ask them to stop while you look for. It is okay. Remember, parental participation is one of the most important parts of an IEP meeting and you have absolutely every right to ask for them to wait for you.

Lindsay Crain 1:03:55 Absolutely. Yes. Which actually is a is is another great point. I mean, what what would you say Lisa, of everything we talked about, but what is one of the most overlooked pieces of IEP prep that parents should pay attention to?

Lisa Carey 1:04:09 You know, you said prep, so I'm gonna say a planned, because you need to plan in advance for most people, a planned break for the parents later in the day to just unwind, and whether that's just going out for coffee with your partner or taking a bath or calling your best friend on the East Coast and talking for an hour or whatever it is, a planned break. So hire a sitter or send the kids to after school care or do what you can if at all possible. I know for some of you, that's not possible. But if it's at all possible, plan a break later in the day where you're not, you're trying not to think about it and you just take a break because it is emotional.

Lindsay Crain 1:04:49 It is. An actually that's a really good point. I mean, we talked a lot about the logistics. But is there anything else that you want to say about the emotions around the IEP process? I know I saw some comments earlier on and in the chat, you know, people were talking about how emotional it can be. And I think sometimes that takes people by surprise. Or sometimes you forget, you know, it's in the recesses of your brain, but you know, you're not really sort of shored up for it. What would you like to share with parents on that?

Lisa Carey 1:05:16 Yeah, I mean, first, bring a friend, bring an advocate, bring someone with you. I think that's important. I think that is, it's okay to cry in the meetings, it's okay to be emotional, it's okay to say I need to break, let's take a 10 minute bathroom break or whatever, right? It's your kid. I'm going to steal something that Lindsey has said before, this is your child's IEP team for a year, you're the child's IEP team for life. So you're the most important person in the room, take a break, go to the bathroom. And your kid is still the same kid that your kid was before this meeting, the new diagnosis or the new behavior, or the not meeting a goal or the whatever, it doesn't change. Your kid is still the same amazing kid he or she was before. And then the last thing, and you can out yourself in the comments if you want because I know you're here. I have a client who told me that the kid that they present is not her kid. They would push life skills on her kid and say, this is all we're going to do with your kid, we want to teach your kid to cook, we want to do this. They would say the kid doesn't do math. The kid doesn't do this. I told her one time, you know, just make a video and show it to them. And boy did she, she took this to the next level. She took a compilation video, it was like two minutes, now every IEP where she shows her kid doing all the things that they say the kid can't do, all of the life skills. And you can totally out yourself if you want but I never ever tell on my clients who they are. But she's in the in the comments. And so they would say, well, we want to work on life skills with your kid. And she'd be like, Look, I just showed you a video of him making omelets, like it is the most awesome thing. So if your team is down on your kid, make it reasonable, not a 45-minute video, one or two minute little video you can present of your kid having the social skills, having a conversation back and forth, cooking all of these things that they talk about your kids doing. And yes, I realize our kids can do things at home that are different than school. But if your kid knows how to cook an omelet, they don't need life skills for cooking. Right? Right.

Lindsay Crain 1:07:36 Right. The videos, I have to say I absolutely love that. Oh my gosh, I mean, that has to be really gratifying, number one, but obviously then to you know, show who your child is. And you know, and even even having those reports because I've had things said like, you know, all year haven't been able to get anything. And then I took out a work sample from private therapy session where that had been accomplished in a one-hour session of what hadn't been they hadn't been able to do, like in all year you can't? I mean, you can say okay, different things in school, but you can't really refute it. I mean, the omelet that's amazing. Whoever you are, I want to know you. I want to spend time with you. It's genius.

Lisa Carey 1:08:16 I hope she outs herself because she's an amazing, amazing, amazing mom.

Lindsay Crain 1:08:21 Of course. Yes, I'm and I love I love that idea. And I feel like a lot of people are sort of nervous to bring that sort of personal into it. But nothing better than you know, just show them, right. You can say it all day long. And they're not going to listen, but you really can't say anything to the to the omelet video right?

Lisa Carey 1:08:42 Well, I actually did it once with my own son who really struggled with reading, and they talked about his reading level being far lower than I knew it was. So I took a video of a reading and presented it. And they were shocked. Yeah. And it was that it was a refusal behavior at school. And I understand that, but my point is, is it can definitely help.

Lindsay Crain 1:09:04 Yeah, yes, definitely. And I'm looking, I'm looking at the time and I know I know, we have you know, we have to wrap it up, we've covered so much. But then also an hour can barely scratch the surface, as everyone here knows. And we just we want you to leave today with an understanding of what's important for you to consider for your own IEP prep. You can take our checklist and make it your own. We just want you to feel confident in that IEP meeting. So remember, reach out to your child's team, gather reports and samples, talk about goals, ask questions about progress, organize everything you gather, note items of concern, as well as priorities, prepare for your requests, and then go into your meeting with feelings of confidence and collaboration. Maybe plan on a little wine later. Just saying. You've got this, you've got this. So thank you, Lisa always for taking the multiverse of IEPs and highlighting where we need to focus and prepare and for making things that seem so overwhelming makes sense. So thank you always. And if you want to prep partner, just click on the Kickstarter link in the chat that Donna shared, you can schedule with our care team right from that link. And while we covered IEP prep today, Lisa is going to be back. So we're going to cover the essentials of the actual IEP meeting on Monday, April 17 at one o'clock right here on our Facebook page, it's going to be the five most important things to remember when advocating in an IEP. We're going to take all this organization that we talked about today, and then we'll put it into action for the actual meeting. Donna is putting the RSVP info in the chat. So we would love to see you back here. And in the meantime, join us in our parents only Facebook group if you're not already in there, Lisa, the Undivided Navigators and I, Donna, Iris, we're all in there with an amazing community of parents who are sharing everything from IEPs, to puberty to summer camps and anything else you can imagine. So I'm just going to share that link in the chat. And in the meantime, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and now Twitter, stop by and say hello because our mission is to support you so your children can thrive and we want you to thrive too. So happy IEP season. We are here to help and we hope to talk to you soon. Bye.



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