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Navigating Transition IEPs: Making Strides Without Stumbling

Navigating Transition IEPs: Making Strides Without Stumbling

Published: May. 3, 2022Updated: Feb. 1, 2024

When your child is moving from preschool to kindergarten, or to middle or high school, your school will hold a transition IEP meeting to set your child up for a successful move. We’ll take you through your transition IEP and how to introduce your child to their new team and school.

To find out more about educational transitions, go here.

Full event transcript

[00:00:00] Lindsay: Hey, everybody. Welcome to Undivided live today. We're going to talk about transition IEP. So when your child is entering kindergarten, middle school, high school, or that thing called adulthood, that comes after high school. Scary beast, I would say for me, but they're going to need a transition IEP. So today we're going to cover what to expect in a transition meeting.

[00:00:26] The questions we need to ask during school tours and unique IEP considerations for each big jump, because we know how fun new routines can be. And with new routines come new needs and accommodations. So we would love to hear your best tips for a transition IEP meeting. It can be for any of the transitions from kinder all the way to post high school.

[00:00:46] So let us know in the chat. And if we have time, I'd love to call some of those out because we always learn so much from each other and transition. IEP can be some of the most nerve-wracking meetings. I mean, my daughter's in sixth grade this year, so maybe I'm speaking for myself, but I almost felt like I was starting all over again. [00:01:04] So Dr. Pelangka is going to attempt to calm our nerves by giving us a cheat sheet to transitions. I'm Lindsay Crain, and I head the content and community teams at Undivided. With me today we welcome back educational advocate, Dr. Sarah Pelangka. She is the owner of no IEP has a doctorate in BCBA and is the sibling of a sister with a disability.

[00:01:23] Welcome back Dr. Pelangka.

[00:01:24] Dr. Pelangka: Hello everyone.

[00:01:27] Lindsay: And also with you today in the chat, we have our community manager, Donna, and one of our Undivided Navigators, Iris. So you can throw your questions in the chat and they'll be passing them along to us. We're going to get to as many as we can. And if you still have questions after today about how to prepare for your child's transition IEP meeting, like organizing your biggest questions for the upcoming school tour, our Undivided Navigators can help.

[00:01:50] So everything we're talking about today can be curated into a personalized IEP guide made for you built around your top priorities. Your Navigator will walk you through it, load it in your Undivided app, and you have an action plan for your meeting right in your pocket or your purse. So imagine your binder will actually just be the size of your phone, literally because you'll have everything right there.

[00:02:10] So you can check out the link that Donna shared about our free 14 day kickstart and learn how you can meet your Navigator and get started today. But first let's make the jump and talk transitions. All right, Dr. Pelangka. So let's clarify. What is a transition IEP? Does it replace the IEP or is it in addition?

[00:02:34] Dr. Pelangka: So a transition IEP meeting does not replace the IEP.

[00:02:39] It's just part of the IEP process and it occurs whenever kind of the name obviously explains it right? Whenever there's a transition to essentially a new campus. So preschool to the, I'll say the major ones preschool to kinder is the first transition, elementary to middle school, middle school to high school, and then post-secondary, which would be for students who continue on after high school to the adult transition program.

[00:03:10] So it doesn't replace the IEP. It's essentially and usually it's a short meeting. I would say the one exception is really preschool to kinder. That's like a full transition psychoeducational re-evaluation. But with that exception, all the rest are pretty short meetings. It's not with the intent or purpose to rewrite the IEP in its entirety.

[00:03:36] It's really just to kind of meet the new team and tweak things, if you will, throughout the IEP to ensure that it's still applicable in the new.

[00:03:46] Lindsay: And who is required to be at a transition meeting?

[00:03:48] Dr. Pelangka:. Yeah. So I mean, again, it depends, you know, on which transition you're at, but for the preschool to kinder, that's really a full reevaluation reason being it's really the first time that a student is entering like traditional school, if you will.

[00:04:08] Right. So preschool isn't a mandated grade, kindergarten and up well, technically is it's more academic. So you're looking at a full re-evaluation. In which case any of the service providers would be required to be in attendance at the meeting that evaluated the student, obviously the current teacher and then the receiving personnel from the new school to include the new teacher, or if they have a representative, they may not have a teacher at that time.

[00:04:39] An administrator generally from the receiving school as well. All the rest of the transition meetings with the exception of the adult transition, it's generally the case manager the administrator or district representative that can sit in as the LEA and then the chair, if you will, the special education chairs, sometimes what they call it from the receiving school.

[00:05:10] So that could be potentially their case manager. It may not be, sometimes there's also an administrator from the receiving school. It's not always required if it's a change in district, it is required. Like out here, whenever a student moves to high school, that's a whole separate district for the entire county with the exception of a couple cities.

[00:05:33] So there has to be a district representative from that receiving school as well, and then when it's an adult transition, There's also representatives that are required for outside community agencies, like transition to adult life. And I know we're going to touch on that later, so I won't get too far into it.

[00:05:52] So it just kind of depends on which transition you're going through.

[00:05:57] Lindsay: And so in addition to the required parties that are going to be there, is there anyone else that we should consider inviting? Is it like a normal IEP where they say, you know.

[00:06:07] Dr. Pelangka: So not all service providers are required members, right?

[00:06:12] So let's say your child has received like PT, OT, speech, and language, you know, everything under the sun. It's not like an annual meeting where they're reporting out on progress and goals. So they're not required members. Really it's kind of the pool of people I just mentioned. So the case manager, administrator, receiving team again, because you're not rewriting the IEP. You're really looking through the IEP that's already in place to ensure that the receiving school can adopt it essentially. and generally speaking, there's going to be things that might change, particularly with like accommodations, because it's a whole different campus and things change when you go to a different campus.

[00:06:53] Now that being said, I always say it's a case by case basis. If you have a student or your child who has, let's say pretty significant concerns with change and they have, you know, high anxiety or they have goals supporting certain social, emotional needs. For example, you may want to ensure that if they receive counseling, for example, that their counselors and attendance to ensure that they can really speak to what's been working for your child and ensure that that's really clearly communicated to the receiving team.

[00:07:30] If there's certain pieces like that, that are really critical to ensure carry over and consistency, particularly if that service provider isn't going to be the same, right? Like if there is a shift in campus, oftentimes service providers don't carry over because maybe they only service elementary. Or if it's a different district, like out here, how I was saying it may be different than it is important to invite those members so that they can clearly share out and give that information.

[00:07:58] And parents should definitely articulate that. Right? I want to ensure that, you know, the counselor is invited in there and attendance to include the receiving counselor so they can make sure they have that opportunity. So that's definitely important to consider.

[00:08:15] Lindsay: And I mean, I know you've touched on a lot of the differences between, you know, a transition meeting and, you know,a regular IEP, a trier, an annual, just so parents are really clear. I think you, you already said this, so you're not going to be going over present level. So even if you're, you know, bringing some of your providers, you're not going to be running through all of that. Is it really a time for parents to ask questions?

[00:08:39] Dr. Pelangka: Is it? Well, okay, so the purpose of the transition meeting is for the new receiving team to basically familiarize themselves, I would say on a very surface level. Right? Like for example, out here, we're going through transition meetings and they've all been scheduled for 30 minutes and that's kind of a joke, right? Like what are we going to get done in 30 minutes? I mean, what are they going to learn about your child?

[00:09:03] So oftentimes case managers know if I'm coming, like they schedule them for an hour. But the purpose and the intent is for the receiving team to have an introduction, if you will, to your child and to make sure that they're equipped to implement the IEP. So there's something called a records of change page. That's the page that's going to be updated to reflect the new campus. So, you know what, they'll check a box out here. Our template has boxes at the top and they'll mark, you know, preschool to kinder or elementary to middle or whichever. And then underneath it'll have all the services listed because the minutes might change based on the schedule, right?

[00:09:48] If you're moving from elementary to middle school, they have to change the way they write the minutes, because it's no longer just one class all day it's multiple class periods and the number of minutes are going to have to reflect the number of minutes they get every day at that new, with that new schedule, same for high school.

[00:10:04] So that's the purpose of that page is to make sure it accurately reflects the number of service minutes in the new setting. And then on the bottom, any other comments or changes that might occur in the new setting. So that's the big piece that's gonna be covered in the transition IEP.

[00:10:22] And then they kind of briefly may look through the goals just to make sure, you know, yeah, this can be met, this can be supported. And then they really look at accommodations particularly when you're transitioning to high school, because a lot of the accommodations need to be written such that they support like state standards for testing, right.

[00:10:43] And like collegiate level testing because after high school comes college. So those are the major pieces that are really covered in transition IEP. And of course, you know, yes, parents should ask questions and get to know the team, but it isn't, it's not like a, like you said, an annual or a triennial where you get to meet every single person that's going to work with your child and give them a whole rundown.

[00:11:09] Unfortunately, that really isn't the time or the space, because to be fair, they have to do this for a hundred kids. So they have to be able to fit all of these meetings in, and if they sat there and did that with every parent, I mean, there would just be no way. So you have to kind of see both sides. and I definitely always recommend to parents if you feel like you weren't able to get enough out or you're worried, like there wasn't enough time, just reach out to the new team and schedule a pre-meeting like before, you know, you start your child starts school and also make IEP at a glance and send emails. There's so many ways you can kind of reach out and get connected for sure.

[00:11:47] Lindsay: Absolutely. I think those are really good points because I know when we were, since I, my daughter was in sixth grade, and it was during Covid, so, you know, I'm trying to remember, it's like, well, what should I expect? Are we going to be meeting people? Like what? I couldn't even remember. You know, my kid and I have like hardly any recollection of it.

[00:12:04] So that laid it out really nicely for what parent and that isn't going to be your only chance, right. It's not going to be your only shot. So you have to, you know, figure out where to build that in the introductions and everything else, as you said. And so, you know, let's talk about what happens even before that transition meeting. A major priority for many families is touring the prospective new school and possibly the classrooms.

[00:12:25] So what are five of the most important questions that parents should consider asking as they're checking out a new school?

[00:12:33] Dr. Pelangka: Yeah, so touring campuses is huge. Because I mean, you want to make sure, you know, and you're familiar with where your child will be. Right. And definitely, I always recommend as well trying to tour, not only the campus, assuming your child is going to be.

[00:12:53] Or I should say for those students who will be in a self-contained class to make sure that parents tour those classes as well, because you want to make sure you're comfortable with that environment. That being said, I think you asked the five, what, what should parents?

[00:13:08] Lindsay: Yeah, the question is like, what are the five most, you know, I know there's a lot more than five, but five of the most important questions that parents should consider asking as they're checking out that new school.

[00:13:17] Dr. Pelangka: Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Again, I, it depends on which transition you're at. So I'll just kind of think of the top five that come to me off the bat, I know a big one for middle school. I always say is making sure parents look at the campus because there's no longer going to be a playground. And that's a huge shift, a huge difference. So what is available and accessible for like unstructured times and structured social times? The question is definitely lunch clubs, right? Because there are no longer opportunities for that type of play. So what social lunch clubs are available or can be available or can we start our own to help support like social interaction during those unstructured times on the campus? You know, where are those held? What do they look like? For elementary school I think a big one, like particularly out here is like, if your child is in a self-contained class, how many grades are available on this campus?

[00:14:20] And, and, or like, where will my kid be next? Because unfortunately, for example, out here within our district, there's like K through three or K yeah, Kindergarten through third is one campus, then fourth and fifth is another campus and kids just get moved around and they're not on the same campus and it's just messy.

[00:14:40] So I think that would be good for parents to know, like that information isn't always readily shared and they're like, wait, what, my kid's going to another school now. So ask that like, how many grades are supported on this campus? How many grades are supported within this classroom? Right? Like K through three is very and to be fair, they're not all within one class. There are two separate, but I have seen classes literally with first through fifth. So like K to 5.

[00:15:05] Lindsay: We have five class, which we felt got rid of and then it came back.

[00:15:09] Dr. Pelangka: So yeah. Yeah. Parents need to know that. so that could be, that's a really important one for elementary school. I'm trying to think of at least one for each transition grade for high school.

[00:15:25] Oh, another one that's come up this year. I think post COVID. I don't know if you're seeing the same out there, but for whatever reason, like schedules for middle school and high school have completely changed. There's like now they're on block schedule or they do like periods one, four and five Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and periods three, whatever is left to the other two, it's just like the craziest I'm like, how do kids remember this?

[00:15:52] Especially kids that may have these like on a daily, like, what is the schedule? Like what days have, what are their minimum days? You know, just all those questions. You know, are there lockers? Like if not, you know, that may be something that could be difficult for your child to remember all the materials, because now there's multiple classes and there's multiple things from each class.

[00:16:18] So do they need an extra set to leave at home and at school or will they have a locker? PE is also another big one. I always encourage to ask about, you know, what do the locker rooms look like? And who's in there monitoring, and what are the locks? You know, what type of locks do they use? Will your child be able to use that?

[00:16:39] Or will they need a different lock? Those are things that should be thought of before the first day of school. So your child isn't left stuck. Right. And it should be made aware to the adults. So they know that they should be monitoring and supervising and supporting that child from the get-go. And unfortunately, particularly with PE I see a lot of. I, I was going to say a lot of balls dropped, but that sounds really bad.

[00:17:11] And that is my PhD thing for the day.

[00:17:18] Lindsay: We did the caption for that one. Well it, on the, I was, I was actually gonna bring that up in a minute when we're talking about new routines, but I think it's really important to dimension that, to kind of look at the locker room space too. Right. I mean, there's kids that get, you know, there's a lot of issues with PE. That was a huge one, you know, that I know we thought of, you know, just does your child, you know, do they get anxious?

[00:17:45] If they're really crowded, is changing, going to be a problem, you know? Do they need help? Do they need help changing or do they, would they have anxiety around that? Do you need to talk about, can they get there a little early or. You know, there's just, there's a lot of considerations to make and it, it, it does really help to see the space.

[00:18:02] Dr. Pelangka: Well, and also just the sheer amount of students in there at one time at an awkward time, particularly for middle schoolers, it's the first time you're changing in front of other people. And there's, it's a really easy time for our kids, any kid, but our kids to be bullied. Right. And for kids who aren't aware it's scary.

[00:18:22] What could happen in there, like kids who aren't able to communicate those things and, or may not know. So it's, it's a really serious thing for parents to be aware of and to ensure that the PE teachers are aware, you know, of what should be done to ensure the safety of all students, but particularly many of our students.

[00:18:41] Lindsay: Absolutely. And there was something else you said well about kind of looking at where the classes are. Right. And even you know, when you get to some of the secondary and it could actually, or on elementary, but to really look and see if your child's going to be moving around. You know, are they, will they need help navigating the campus?

[00:18:59] And a lot of times with elementary that's built in, but in middle and high school, you know, even if they, they, I, I know a lot of families who've had, they've asked for a temporary aide in the beginning while their child is used to getting used to that schedule and where they're going and finding their way around.

[00:19:16] And I didn't know if you wanted to add anything to that as well, cause that can fade out, you know, once that child becomes more independent, but there's a lot of nerves, like how's my child going to get around, like, you know, sure. They're getting a tour, but what are they going to do, especially if they might need a little assistance.

[00:19:30] Dr. Pelangka: Yeah. So I definitely recommend kind of separate from the, you know, parents touring just particularly for students who really want to kind of ease that anxiety and or students who have like vision impairment or orientational ability to give them an opportunity to navigate their class schedule before the first day of school.

[00:19:51] So definitely request that. And yeah, like, depending on how massive the campus is, because that's another huge change. The campus is going to be bigger, whether it's a lot bigger or somewhat bigger, it's bigger. And you're going to hypothetically potentially be navigating from class to class, as opposed to being in primarily one class all day.

[00:20:13] Those are big changes. So making sure there's enough time, depending on the location of the class in between like during passing period for your child to make it is a huge one, particularly again, for students who may have like orientation and mobility needs. And that's really important. Oh, another thing I'm sorry, I didn't discuss this earlier.

[00:20:32] When you asked that would be reviewed at transition meetings, particularly transition to middle school and high school is the class schedule. So, although you may not be able to solidify it, like set in stone, cause sometimes they don't have for sure certain classes like electives the full list, but you can get a pretty good idea of what your child's schedule will be.

[00:20:55] So that's really important. And that's another reason that you have the transition meeting because students with IEP generally kind of get first dibs, if you will, on things like electives and whatnot. So that's awesome. So make sure you have those conversations at your child's transition meeting, but anyway, you also want to ask those questions.

[00:21:12] Again, particularly if you have a child who may be impacted by that piece, like generally the location, right? How far is this class from this class? Will my child be able to make it? I know you can set accommodations, like your child can leave five minutes earlier, whatnot, but then they're also missing five minutes of instruction in that class.

[00:21:30] So all of those pieces are just really critical and important and making sure it makes sense for your child. You know, maybe students who don't want to have a hard time changing kind of going back to PE or it's difficult, like when you're setting up their schedule, make PE first period.

[00:21:48] So they arrive with their clothes on or last period, so they can go home with their clothes on and there's only one change as opposed to two. So things like that can all be discussed and set within that transition meeting. But yeah, if you're, if you have a kiddo who's really anxious about, you know walking class to class or they tend to kind of have memory issues and maybe they aren't gonna remember their schedule and where to go.

[00:22:14] And it takes a while. I have had clients where we recommend just for the first week or two a temporary assistant to help them navigate from class to class. And that's generally not something that's hard to come by, particularly if there's enough rationale to support that. So definitely something you can ask for.

[00:22:33] Lindsay: I wanted to put this, Carrie, Carrie had this good suggestion you know, just ask for a same-sex aide to monitor the locker room also for PE, which you know, that it maybe the same almost as you're saying, you know, we were talking about aides, kind of getting you from class to class. If there's, you know, if there's a worry, that's something that you can bring up.

[00:22:51] And Susan, hopefully you saw Susan came in late. She said, sorry, I must've missed something. Why would a kid be naked in front of other kids? We're talking about PE season. So don't be scared.

[00:23:01] Dr. Pelangka: And I was just going to touch on the same sex aide. It's always something of course you want to request even for toileting, right?

[00:23:11] Not just PE, but even younger kids that required toileting assistance, diapering. It's not always guaranteed. So I would say particularly for male students, it's harder to find male aides. So yes, you can put in the request. It doesn't mean that it's possible though. I mean, they're, they're not going to be able to hire if there's nobody that's there to fill the job based on those qualifications.

[00:23:35] And they also can't necessarily say we can only hire a male or a female, right? Like, so generally if they have the availability or the capability, they will do that, but there's occasions in which they don't have any other option. And of course, if you're not comfortable with that, and you don't want like a male, for instance, supporting your female daughter and the restroom you know, then you got to have those conversations and see if there's some sort of agreement that can be worked out.

[00:24:00] They would maybe have to phone somebody else that whenever your child has to go to the bathroom. But there's no guarantee that they can make that happen is my point.

[00:24:10] Lindsay: Absolutely. And I know we have a lot of questions coming in. Chris asked, is there a source for the language we can reference for transition meetings?

[00:24:19] If they say someone from the new campus is not attending our transition meeting, is there a source for the language?

[00:24:22] Dr. Pelangka: I'm not sure what that piece means, but I mean, I would just say, when

[00:24:29] Lindsay: You were talking about who comes to the transition meeting, is there somewhere they can find, like, is there a statute somewhere they can find where it says, who is supposed to legally be at a transition.

[00:24:38] Dr. Pelangka: Yeah. That's what I was going to say. I'm assuming you're asking that. Yeah, I mean, I can send you like Lindsay and a link to something you can provide on the website or whatnot, but I mean, yeah, there's definitely, if you Google it, even you should be able to find legally required team members for the transition meeting.

[00:24:57] I mean, it's kind of impossible to have a transition meeting without the receiving school. Cause that's the point of the meeting. So if your district is trying to kind of hold the meeting without that path of the party, if you will, I definitely would push back in writing and, and not attend until they have that representative available.

[00:25:23] Lindsay: Crystal, I don't know. I'll ask this now. I don't know if we're going to address this later. She said my daughter had adaptive PE until she got to high school, when they said they don't have it after PE in high school. First week back, she collapsed in PE, should I push them to implement adaptive PE at the high school?

[00:25:44] Dr. Pelangka: Yeah. I'm not sure why they would say they don't have adaptive PE at the high school. Adaptive PE is a service. That's always, I mean, it's, it's individualized and it would be dependent on whether or not the student needs it. So if it's required, if it's something that the student needs, then the district has to offer it.

[00:26:04] I know what I have seen is districts that no longer pull out for adaptive PE, so maybe that's what happened and rather they have the adaptive PE teacher essentially push in and join in the gen ed class. I've seen that model actually become more and more common. So maybe that's the case. But if they completely removed it as a service altogether, and it's no longer on the IEP at all, that's definitely considered.

[00:26:33] But either way, it sounds like whatever they did unfortunately led to some unsafe situation for your daughter. And so I hope that was, has since been resolved. I'm sorry that happened.

[00:26:44] Lindsay: I also wanted to point out, I think Donna shared this just a little bit ago, but we do have a school tour checklist that was shared in the chat.

[00:26:51] And it's a great way to organize your thoughts or your priorities when you're on that tour. And we all, it can be overwhelming. You have a million things in your head. So if you can't ask, ask all of your questions, I think Dr. Pelangka said this before you can take notes and you can follow up after that's not like your only shot to ask those questions.

[00:27:08] And also each article and our making the leap transition series has a section on school tours. We collaborated with Dr. Pelangka and some other specialists to put those together. And as your child ages, obviously, as we're talking about, the transition needs evolve. So while the tips we just cover, you know, can work at any site, you know, we got a little specific, there are some unique questions that we may want to ask for the elementary and the secondary school.

[00:27:33] So, you know, just to kind of hit home with what we were just starting, let's if we can start with all elementary, like maybe two additional questions that parents should consider on that kinder or elementary tour?

[00:27:47] Dr. Pelangka: All right. So questions to consider for kinder, I would say, where are the restrooms located?

[00:27:53] The closest restroom, because that could be a major shift you know, for the little ones.

[00:28:03] Lindsay: And can I add something to that? And I don't know if you were going to say this, but I know a lot, if there might be still some potty training issues or, or sorry, toilet training issues And, you know, I'm, you might want to check if they need help, if they're still wearing a diaper, if they need help with that, like, where is that done?

[00:28:21] Is their privacy, if they need help, even just in the toilet, like maybe getting their pants up and down and maybe that's in middle school as well, you know, wherever, wherever you might be going, but specifically to elementary school to check out where that will happen and make sure there's privacy you know, around other children, other students as well.

[00:28:38] Dr. Pelangka: Yeah, definitely. I think that's a big shift and also I'm just trying to think of broad, like assuming the student is in gen ed, you know, kind of asking how large the class sizes are. Just asking the general model of how students are taught, I think is important. You know, are they expecting a lot of sitting at your seat lecture-based or is it more movement?

[00:29:03] You know, class sizes, if they're going to be more in an SDC class, of course, you know, how many students are in the class again, how many grades are supported within the class, asked to see the playground. What does that look like? I mean, of course it's case by case, but there's so many things you can ask.

[00:29:24] Lindsay: I was also going to say, to pay attention to anywhere where your child might need, you know, if they're, if they are going to be getting therapies or if it is APE, because by the way, for APE, I know that keeps coming up, but there can be, uh, it might not be outside. You know, like we were just saying with PE there's, you know, there's a lot of districts who have an APE class and for some students that's safer, but it could be like a weight room in a, you know, and maybe your child really wants to get out and see the light during the day.

[00:29:51] So it's just important to ask them to really see everywhere where they're going to be during the day.

[00:29:56] Dr. Pelangka: Right. And another thing for the transition to kinder is mostly. I think if not every school offers like a kindergarten tour, just for the whole population of incoming kindergarteners, because a lot of students have never been to school ever.

[00:30:12] So I would just encourage parents to attend that because a lot of those questions will be answered. I mean, they give you a whole tour of the entire campus. You get to look in the classrooms, you get to hear a lot of the things I just said answered. And it's usually led by the site principal. So that's another nice thing is you get to meet the administrator, which is really important when you're talking about special education and you can kind of get a feel for the culture of that campus, right?

[00:30:38] Like how the administrator leads is really gonna define that school culture. So I think, again, keeping in mind like the transition IEP is not unfortunately going to be where you get every single piece of information. So as many things as you can capitalize on, as far as other opportunities that are available for all parents definitely take advantage of those as.

[00:30:59] Lindsay: Absolutely. And there was, there was another tip from the transition to kindergarten article that Donna shared that is to, to classes at different times. I don't know if that was your suggestion, Dr. Pelangka. I really liked it if at all possible, because circle time in the morning might look fantastic. But how does math at the end of the day look, but I don't know if that might be really difficult to coordinate, but is that a possibility?

[00:31:21] Dr. Pelangka: Oh yeah, definitely. And another thing for kinder is often times districts have AM PM, right? And so there's certain times of the day where all of the kids are there and then the rest of the day it's half, because parts of the day, there's only the AM kids and parts of the day, there's only the PM kids.

[00:31:37] And you're also gonna want to know and, or offer insight at your transition meeting if your child would perform better in either or same for preschool. Right. But yeah, like looking at different times of the day is really critical for certain students and also for you to have a general better, better overall understanding of how the classroom is run.

[00:32:00] Lindsay: Absolutely. So what about middle and high school? What are, you know, two or more, you know, additional questions, but that we should consider on those tours?

[00:32:10] Dr. Pelangka: I feel like I gave you a lot of those already. I think the biggest ones, again, are just the location of the classes.

[00:32:17] Generally certain subjects are housed in certain areas of the campus are, you know, looking at, are there stairs, certain schools have, you know, levels like where's the elevator in relation to that PE we talked about extensively, that's a big one, the lockers, you know, are your students going to be required to have their Chromebooks with them bringing to, and from home and materials?

[00:32:47] Lindsay: I see, I was going to say, well, the tech is big because you know, I've, well, I've talked to a lot of parents who, you know, they see if they're, if they're looking at the special ed classroom and in gen ed classroom, like maybe they are taking, you know, their iPad or their computer, like from class to class.

[00:33:00] But I've talked to a lot of people where like the tech looks completely different in the special ed classroom. They have a desktop computers there than they do in the gen ed classroom. So it's just also to pay attention to does everything look as it does in the other rooms, is, is there, you know, as much access in this room as there are in the gen ed classrooms for everything

[00:33:20] Dr. Pelangka: And also seating, you kind of made me think of that as well.

[00:33:25] What do the seating arrangements look like? As far as like certain teachers are more flexible and have adaptive seating and again, kind of going back to how does your child. learn best versus just sitting at a desk all day or whatnot. And when you go and observe, you can kind of get a feel for the teacher's preferred style as well.

[00:33:42] There's certain teachers that like to teach certain ways and are going to be less flexible. And there's other teachers that could care less if kids are laying on the ground and standing as long as they're getting it done. And those are important pieces. Another thing that's huge that I see a lot, particularly in high school, that's a huge struggle post Covid is, I mean, I think it was kind of already being rolled out just with our society becoming more technological, but there's so many different platforms for teachers to use to for work submission and pushing out work like Canvas and Google classroom. And I mean, there's so many and it's, I can't like, it's so frustrating for me.

[00:34:21] I don't know how students don't get frustrated and many of our students do and, or they get so lost because. For whatever reason districts say, well, we can't force teachers to pick what one platform. They all get to pick which one they want. So I literally have clients where every teacher is using a different platform.

[00:34:39] That's five to six different platforms and they don't know where to go for what, like, and they're missing, you know, turning in work late and they're failing and it's a mess. So that's another huge question to ask is, you know, what platforms do teachers use and how do they expect like their children or I'm sorry, their students to turn in their work and making sure it's really clear for the parent on how to navigate those, because then we'll have IEP meetings and the parent's like, well, I don't know how to get on, you know, I don't know how to check it. It's really messy in my opinion, but that's been a really challenging for, for so many students.

[00:35:16] Lindsay: I would say that is huge this year. I mean, we're already at the end of April and so many friends, it's like, you know what? We send something to your child's email or we announced it in class. And a lot of us have kids who can't come home and tell us that, right? They're not going to say, this is what happened. This is what we're supposed to be doing.

[00:35:34] You don't get the same kind of communication in secondary that you do in elementary. So really think about that, to write it into your IEP. If there's anything you need to know, right. It needs to be on the log. It needs to be sent home in some, some way to the parents as well so you know. And Evy had a question, I think you kind of touched on this earlier, but going back to elementary, I guess, for anything she said, can we ask for a meet and greet before school starts with the teacher and the one-on-one and preschool, whenever I asked for a meet and greet it always got pushed under the rug.

[00:36:06] Dr. Pelangka: You can definitely request a meet and greet before school starts with the teacher. That's not to say there's any guarantee that that teacher will be there on day one. I think that's just always something important to keep in mind. Staff are never guaranteed. So the district can let you meet and greet the staff that's available at that time.

[00:36:24] That's not to say that that person won't quit tomorrow, or God forbid something horrible happens. Right. As far as the one-to-one aide, assuming that you have a, one-to-one already written into your IEP if it's for preschool, then that means that would be the first occasion in which the student is starting school and receiving that service.

[00:36:41] So I don't, you would be able to meet that person. I would imagine whenever that person is available for hire I say that because let's say, you're, you already have the one-to-one written into your IEP and you're pushing on to kinder or some other grade that person may continue on. In which case, obviously you'd be familiar, but that also isn't guaranteed, particularly when there's transitions, like I said earlier to other campuses, they generally may have aides only do elementary or only do middle school or whatnot. So I know certain districts like to kind of hide their one-to-one from parents and not allow those like intimate interactions.

[00:37:21] Right. Because they don't want aides saying things they shouldn't be saying because to be fair, they aren't necessarily they're not credentialed staff usually, and they're not trained in certain things. But you can always request to meet the aide with the teacher at the same time. Right. It doesn't have to be a secret meeting where it's just you in the aide.

[00:37:38] So yeah, I mean, I don't see why that wouldn't be accommodated.

[00:37:45] Lindsay: Yeah. And another, when you were talking before about the principal too, I also thought to look, you know, you're looking at so many things, but also really get a feel for us. You're looking around and you're seeing groups of kids. Do you see kids with disabilities with other, you know, neuro-typical same age peers or do you see just, you know, clumps of children with disabilities traveling together, do you not see them at all? You know, do you see your child represented in whatever way that might be? And obviously that's not always visible, but you know, to really ask, I, I was also gonna say, ask questions about disabilities or inclusion or whatever that might be that's on, you know, ask the principal and that group setting.

[00:38:26] Are they comfortable talking about it? Are they uncomfortable? You know, how, how does that feel? It's another thing just to really take advantage. Like you said, have that time with that principal before you're sitting there in an IEP and you really see how, how they can respond and how you're feeling walking around, and another oh, did you say something?

[00:38:45] Dr. Pelangka: I said, absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah.

[00:38:48] Lindsay: And I think you, what, we kind of touched on this before, but another consideration that we should think about for transitions are assessments. So should we consider any additional assessments as our kids are transitioned?

[00:39:01] Dr. Pelangka: Well, like I said, the preschool to kinder, you should always have a full gamut. I very rarely see that not happen. So just be mindful that that should be happening. There's no reason you shouldn't have a full, essentially like a triennial redone for your transition to kinder. Whenever assessments are due at the time of a transition, like let's say the triennial hits right around the transition time.

[00:39:27] Like shortly after the beginning of the school year, I always suggest that a conversation be had surrounding that because it may not be beneficial for an unfamiliar team to complete a full assessment of your child. Right. Or you may want new eyes. So just something to kind of discuss whenever you have the IEP before that time, they generally kind of say, just, you know, you're triennial’s due, do you get triennial worksheet? Yada, yada, you can always request to bump it up and say, I want a familiar team. So I want it done early. I don't want these people that have never been around my child to do this because it may not be valid.

[00:40:05] So something to be mindful of. Obviously there aren't necessarily transitions that need to happen. Sorry, not transitions, assessments that are required for transitions to occur. But there may be assessments that could be useful in terms of obtaining information to support transitions. So obviously those wouldn't happen until the transition is complete.

[00:40:32] Like I think I'm thinking of aides. Oftentimes that's a huge request. Parents get very anxious and they're like, oh my gosh, my kid is going to be walking to six different classes. You know, there's going to be hundreds of kids. It's a bigger campus. My child needs an aide and it's like, okay, maybe right.

[00:40:52] But maybe not. And so I think there's a lot of panic that, you know develops and that's not to say that it shouldn't, but that doesn't always translate to your child's needs. So you can definitely have that be considered once. Of course it has to be done in that environment. And you can't assess for the need for an aide at the elementary school to see if your child needs an aide at the middle school.

[00:41:15] Right. So it has to be done in the environment that we're considering, same for like functional behavior assessments. If you're assuming or hypothesizing that certain behaviors are going to arise, then it would be maybe behoove you to request that assessment. But again, it would happen once the child is in that environment.

[00:41:35] And I think that can be maybe scary for parents because it's like, well, but my kid needs it before. Like how did what you're saying? We have to wait for these things to happen. And if there's like really strong evidence to suggest, like I said earlier, that there may be safety issues or, or something you can always request an emergency or a temporary aide for like that time in which they will be assessing until that data has been till that assessment has been completed.

[00:42:07] But it is important to kind of ensure like from the school's perspective, they have to ensure they're offering what's least restrictive. Right. So they don't want to just offer things without having that data. And that's kind of where they're coming from. Right. So have those discussions and have those conversations and generally it can be worked out.

[00:42:25] But with the understanding that it is important to assess in the environment that we're considering. Yeah, and then, sorry, the other thing would be not necessarily for the transition, but when you get to the age of incorporating the transition plan into the IEP, which is 16, that then comes with new assessments, like the career inventory and all that stuff.

[00:42:50] Lindsay: Great. I also thought about a friend. They, you know, they needed to do a PT assessment as they moved on to middle school because their child's didn't have some mobility aids. And again, it was a lot more movement, a lot more you know, walking and endurance that that child, you know, needed help with.

[00:43:09] And also orientation and mobility, which you might've been getting, you know, in elementary or wherever you might be. That's if you have mobility issues and your vision is. And that's something, I, you know, my daughter gets those services. And so we did meet with the orientation and mobility specialist before school started.

[00:43:25] So, you know, and he could work with her and her aide, just getting around, you know, with bigger kids, lots more kids, a lot more area. And they really kind of walked the schedule to see sort of how she can, you know, the best ways to safely get her, you know, up and down the stairs or around the hallways or whatever it might be.

[00:43:43] Dr. Pelangka: Yes, absolutely.

[00:43:45] Lindsay: Obviously we've been touching on a lot of this. We talked about the school tours and also with transitions come, you know, changes in routine, huge things. You know, my daughter was pretty appalled when she learned that middle school had no recess. So of course, and I remember my nephew telling me he's a couple years ahead.

[00:44:05] He's like Aunt Lindsay, do you know, there is no recess and they don't celebrate birthdays in middle school? Right. It was like, where am I going? I was shocked. Yeah, but it's, it is hard to anticipate what we need to ask for if we haven't had a child at that level of schooling. So if you, if you don't have an older child, who's been there, it's kind of like, what, what, where do I even start? So what are some, we've touched on some of these, but some additional IEP considerations that we should discuss at the elementary or the middle school level that are specific to routines.

[00:44:41] I know you talked about lockers ahead of time. I don't know. I can't remember if we got into that. I hadn't thought of that until a friend of mine, her son has CP and she didn't want him to have to ask somebody. So a lot, I know a lot of parents have asked for instead of a combination lock, right? Like you can maybe get something with a key and that's either for PE or for lockers, right?

[00:45:04] You can, you can ask like maybe they carry around a key or they have it around their neck so they can use a key if they can't, if something's challenging, So anything else like that, that comes to mind that parents should think about?

[00:45:17] Dr. Pelangka: Yeah. I feel like we've already kind of gone over them with all the other pieces, but yeah, like, uh, the PE lock is a big one.

[00:45:27] Well, I think the biggest shifts, like I said, and you kind of just alluded to is there is no playground, there is no recess. So like I said earlier, what options are available to support the social and, and facilitate the social interactions. So lunch clubs are kind of the big thing. Once you get to middle school and high school and those are optional teachers run those.

[00:45:46] So, you know what, and, and students can create their own as long as they can find an adult to lead it. So just kind of asking about that piece. You know, where can kids hang out on campus? Are kids allowed to go into teachers’ rooms during lunchtime? I have clients who prefer to do that, and that's not the best socially, but that's where they feel safe and comfortable.

[00:46:07] You know, the locks. Yeah. You can always have that written into the IEP to have a certain type of lock, even a key lock. If the child has struggles with recalling you know, the lock combination and, you know, extra set of clothes, if they forget their clothes in their locker due to like, you know, attentional deficits or what have you, or again, changing out, you can change out in the nurse's office or you can arrive, like I said, have it maybe first period or last period to prevent the number of times having to change out.

[00:46:36] We talked about like accommodations for having to leave class early. If they're going to take more time to transport between classes. But again, keeping in mind, they're going to miss that instruction in five minutes can be a lot, especially if they're 50 minute periods, right. Or they may say, I saw someone mentioned this in the chat, something about like lunchtime and what that looks like on middle school and high school campuses.

[00:46:59] That's a great question. And I definitely agree, like looking at that, you know, do oftentimes you'll see the SDC classes go to lunch early to minimize the overwhelm, right. Like, oh, there's too much going on. So we go through the line first. Well, okay. But then they're missing the whole social piece. So you have it written into your kid's IEP that they're being exposed to their gen ed peers during lunch and assemblies and whatnot.

[00:47:25] But realistically they're not for the whole time because they're being led out 10 minutes early and they're sitting by themselves and you know what I mean? So, yes. What does that look like? Where does your class sit? Or do you allow your students and encourage your students to sit wherever they want, which is what should be happening?

[00:47:43] And if you don't want your child going 10 minutes early or five minutes early to avoid the chaos, then they shouldn't be doing that. You know, you have those discussions, like I said, it's an individualized plan, so you don't have to follow what every other kid in the class does just because that's been the norm for that class.

[00:48:01] Another thing I've heard is actually the opposite of what someone said earlier, kids in lots, severe classes only have the option for APE. They don't do any gen ed PE and like, that's crazy. Like why not? I mean, that doesn't make sense. What's the rationale. So, you know, again, it's about your child.

[00:48:22] It's not about what the teacher prefers or what has been done in the past. It's what works and what should be done for your child.

[00:48:31] Lindsay: Absolutely. Another, another common one as you're moving to middle or extra like extracurriculars or specials. Okay. That's what they're called an elementary, but you know, electives.

[00:48:46] So, because if you choose, like, if you have a resource class, then that means that your child might, you know, they're not going to get a choice of an elective. I think that's common at a lot of middle schools. So those are questions to ask.

[00:48:58] Dr. Pelangka: So there is no resource. So in middle school and high school, it's generally called study skills or directed studies class.

[00:49:05] There's no resource pullout. So that's a huge difference. Yeah. Between elementary and upper grades. Because you're not in one class anymore, you have multiple subjects. So yes, you're correct. That oftentimes they'll offer like the study skills course, and that tends to replace the option for the elective, particularly when they still haven't met their PE credit right.

[00:49:28] In high school. So some districts have the option for like a zero period or a seventh period. And they can add an additional elective. That's one way to kind of get around that, or you can hopefully get through the PE as soon as possible. So then you can fill that spot with an elective in high school.

[00:49:49] You definitely, it's about weighing the benefits, right? Like, is it, is it going to be, is it necessary for your child to have that directed studies class, which also, I think is important for parents to realize a huge difference is elementary school teachers to include special ed teachers have multi-subject credentials.

[00:50:10] So they're taught to teach across all subjects. When you get to middle school and high school, they have single subject credentials. That's the same for sped teachers. So whenever you have a directed studies teacher, they are credentialed in a single subject. And so if your child struggles, let's say, the most in English, but their directed studies teacher is a science teacher.

[00:50:35] They aren't necessarily going to be equipped to support your child in his or her goals. And that's something I've seen happen a lot lately. And then we have these kids who aren't making progress. So you know, you don't want them in an SDC class, which, you know, you shouldn't, they should, you know, be, have that opportunity in gen ed.

[00:50:53] But then the only option they have to get support is this study skills class and the teacher isn't specialized in the area of need. And the school may not have enough teachers that are specialized in, you know, one for every subject. So there's so many pieces to it that can really hinder the whole process.

[00:51:11] And it gets really convoluted if you will, when you get to the upper grades. And oftentimes parents aren't aware of that, they're like, well, why aren't you helping my kid with his math goals? Well, because it's an English credentialed teacher. They don't know how to do it. So it's not resourced. It's not the same where the resource teacher is in elementary is an expert on all subjects and that's really different.

[00:51:38] Lindsay: That's really important to remember. And last kind of random thing I wanted to throw out was if you have a female, you know, if you have a daughter that you should think about a menstrual plan, if they, you know, if they're going to need help, or if, if that's something, you know, whether they're nervous about it and, or their sensory issues, or they have fine motor issues, it's another privacy issue to think about, like, where can that happen?

[00:52:07] Is somebody going to help them that knows them? Because a lot of times you know, if maybe you have an NPA aide with your child and the school might say, well, you know, if there's anything in a bathroom, it has to be a school. And it's an important conversation to think about, well, you know, this really should be somebody that they know and trust rather than somebody that they don't know coming and helping them with, you know, an intimate situation.

[00:52:31] And so those are the kinds of things, again, to think about, you know, as your child is aging, really fun things to think about. But important. And the transition to high school is a bit more complex. So what are, uh, there's I know many, but what are, what are two things that parents cause I'm looking at the time, but what are two things that parents need to consider for those IEP considerations around routines for high school?

[00:52:56] Dr. Pelangka: Yeah, just really quick. I see the comment in the chat. It, yeah. Secondary teachers or special education teachers, but they aren't credentialed across multiple subjects is what I'm saying. So they're single subject credentialed teachers. And that's important because they may not know how to support your child in their particular area.

[00:53:17] So two things to support students in their transition to high school. Lindsay: Well I was thinking about one specific that's important is the certificate or diploma. So as you're thinking about, I don't know what you want to touch on with that.

[00:53:33] Dr. Pelangka: Yeah.

[00:53:33] Lindsay: Some of those hard, we know they start way earlier sometimes, but you know, as you're kind of moving into high school, it's an important, obviously an important discussion to have.

[00:53:42] Dr. Pelangka: Yes. So that discussion, I mean, ideally would have started earlier than transitioning to ninth grade. The reason being, if your child has already been on an alternative curriculum up to that point, it's quite honestly going to be really hard for them to transfer over to a gen ed curriculum starting in ninth grade.

[00:54:01] So you want to make sure you're kind of having those discussions earlier on, but yes. When you have your transition to high school meeting, again, really what they're looking at is that record of change page, making sure the minutes match the schedule. They don't. They do talk about electives and what classes the student will be taking.

[00:54:21] And they really look heavily at the accommodations. To me, that's kind of the biggest area of focus I see in the high school meetings, because they want to make sure again, they align with like testing. So like big ones that you or your child might have that may no longer be as readily accessible in high school and, and college like extended time.

[00:54:40] They're going to change that to make sure that it's maybe a little bit more limited for tests in particular. Also looking at like use of a calculator and just like anything that could be considered a modification. Oftentimes there's accommodations written in that maybe more like modifications, just the way accommodations are worded to make sure that they're really accommodations and they aren't changing the curriculum and what's being learned and, and what's being presented to the students. And then yeah, a certificate track versus diploma track is a conversation that should definitely be had if it needs to be.

[00:55:17] If it's obviously pretty clear and apparent that the student is on a diploma track, then you're probably not going to really talk much about it. But if it's not, or if it's something that you, as a parent haven't really discussed or haven't had the opportunity to work through, I definitely recommend having that discussion at the transition meeting because it is going to impact the student's schedule.

[00:55:40] I don't know how far you want to get into that, but yeah, no,

[00:55:44] Lindsay: I know. I know. we know it's, it's an entire, you know, we've had entire events about that, so, yeah. But the other thing that we, obviously we have to touch on is the ITP, the individualized transition plan. So if you could explain what that is and And are we really talking about that in eighth grade?

[00:56:06] Some parents are going to be thinking as we're going into high school. If you could talk a little bit about the ITP.

[00:56:12] Dr. Pelangka: Yeah. So the ITP stands for individualized transition plan and it's not legally required until the student is age 16. so you may not see that yet at the, you know, depending on the age of your child, most freshmen are not that age.

[00:56:26] So once the student turns 16, it's legally required and it's an additional section within the IEP. That includes kind of a few pages. So I will start reminding you, like once your child turns 18, you no longer have educational rights. Can you sign here that I've told you that, you know, 50 times of course, unless you obtained conservatorship and then there's a page kind of dedicated to interests of your child, right?

[00:56:53] And there's generally three main sections, so educational or college, you know, potential college or post high school. That doesn't have to be college and the student can say right there that they don't have any interest in going to college. Right. Or it could be a technical school or what have you, then there's a career section.

[00:57:12] And the student, you know, would list what career interests they have. And then there's more of like an independent living type community-based section that kind of their goals for, uh, you know, where do they want to live, or w you know, what do they want their future to look like? once they graduate high school and there's different inventories and assessments, like I alluded to earlier that the teacher should be administering annually.

[00:57:36] So this should be updated every year after you know, it's initiated. And then based on that page there's goals, so an added service is then introduced on the IEP, the college and career awareness service, and that That is supported differently depending on districts. Like there may be a whole class dedicated to it that the student can be in, or it may be supported by the case manager, or there may be a college and career counselor.

[00:58:04] It just depends. But there's service minutes that would be written in to support those goals. What I generally see, I would say 99.9% of the time is very generic goals that are not measurable. Like, you know, the student will like I've literally seen a goal that says the student will get a job. And I was like, oh my God, literally that was how it was worded period. And they offered 30 minutes a year for the service. And I'm like, this makes sense. So the whole point is to take the information that the student gives you. Okay. Develop goals centered around supporting them in achieving those interests or those achieving those goals that they set for themselves.

[00:58:48] So obviously if the student wants to become an astronaut, that may be far-fetched, but you can still create goals to support getting them to that point. Right. And so just making sure that the goals are written to be individualized and support that student and that they are very measurable. Like there's common goals that the student will fill out a job application, or the student will write a resume or the student will find two colleges of interest.

[00:59:13] Those are all very generic, right? Like how can we make it more meaningful? Like, do we set up mock interviews? And what is it that is going to best and benefit your child and what area do they need the most support in to be able to access and achieve those goals? You know, once they do graduate and they no longer have access to these supports, that's kind of the whole point of the transition.

[00:59:40] Lindsay: Right. And this is it's, the district is held accountable and a transition plan, the same way they would in an IEP. So you want to make sure that those goals, like you said, are specific and measurable the same way in the IEP, right? Yeah. And I guess the, you know, all of these, all of the IEP goals should be working towards these transition goals, moving towards that vision statement, which hopefully, you know, we have been doing so somehow since, since the very beginning, but really working towards what we see after school, obviously.

[01:00:09] Oh, Lisa said, yeah, ITP is huge. Can we have one for high school to adult transition topic? There's a lot to cover. Yes. Lisa, we definitely need to have that as a completely separate event. And we will definitely be planning on that. I have about 5 million questions about that myself. So let's I'm looking at the time.

[01:00:29] So let's fast forward to the beginning of the year. Following any transition meeting. What if the transition doesn't go as planned?

[01:00:38] Dr. Pelangka: Yeah. I, I mean, I think the obvious answer is definitely reaching out to the case manager. and you know, I know kind of in the write-up it was mentioned, you can call a meeting at any time.

[01:00:52] That's the standard answer, right? That you probably don't want to hear anymore call a meeting at any time they have 30 days to schedule the meeting. you know, go in, talk to the administrator. I mean, it depends obviously on what isn't going as planned, you know, how significant is it? Honestly, things probably aren't going to go as planned because it's a huge transition and things don't always go as planned for many students, right?

[01:01:15] Like schedules get mixed up or things happen. So, I mean, you can, I would, I would suggest going into it with the mindset that something is probably going to go wrong because that's the nature of the beast, right? Like for gen ed students, you know, as well things happen. So, you know, we do everything we can to make sure that those things don't happen, but things are going to happen. you know, depending on the severity of the situation, send an email, go in and request a meeting with the case manager or the admin or whoever can support, you know, a fix.

[01:01:56] It doesn't always mean that you have to go straight to requesting an IEP, right? Like things can be resolved outside of an IEP meeting. and if it is something more major, like the IEP hasn't been followed for the first two weeks or whatever. Yeah. Like definitely put that in writing. Why hasn't the science teacher been offering these accommodations that are in my child's IEP?

[01:02:18] I'm not okay with it. And if it requires up and you do want that IEP, then call that IEP, but just be, be flexible if you will, and, and offer grace to the receiving schools as well, because they're adjusting and acclimating just as your child is, that's not to say that they shouldn't be held accountable by any means, but if you're expecting perfection from the first day, I can tell you, you will be let down because it's not perfect for anyone.

[01:02:48] So we have to be mindful of that.

[01:02:53] Lindsay: Absolutely. And if you, I always try to schedule, you know, at, at the spring IEP that we have a team meeting and maybe an end to transition, maybe it's even in those first two weeks. You know, my daughter happens in a lot of people on that team and, you know, they get three days before school starts.

[01:03:08] I mean, our district is three days before that's, you know, hardly any time to get your class set up, to get, you know, your caseload to figure out what's going on. And so to then be on top of everything. It's good to have everybody in one room. So like, okay, like what does this mean? How are we doing this?

[01:03:23] It's nice to, if you can, to get that team together to talk about like, what's working, what are we not doing? And it also makes you feel like you're kind of, you're getting to meet that team, which you know, can help those nerves a little bit.

[01:03:36] Dr. Pelangka: Yeah. That's a great suggestion. And I have suggested that particularly for certain clients, I would say again, not necessarily for every client, because then if everybody's doing it, then it's not, honestly, it's not, it's not feasible for the teacher.

[01:03:51] Right? Like they need that time to set up and prepare for the whole class you know, at the start of the year. So for certain clients, I think that's really important. And others, I think it isn't necessarily necessary. Oh, I was gonna say something else. Oh, no, I forgot. I don't know, I lost my train of thought.

[01:04:12] Lindsay: It'll come back to you. It'll come back. Well, I know. And to, to close I would love for you just to kind of close with a couple of tips that we need to remember for every transition IEP meeting and just sort of like the general, you know, general tips. What do we go away with?

[01:04:29] Dr. Pelangka: It came back. I was gonna say, I suggest, I generally give families, and it kind of piggybacks on your suggestion you just gave, but maybe less time consuming for the teachers is just writing kind of like a very brief, and I really want to highlight brief. I know I've said this, I think a couple of years ago to you Lindsay, like just a brief introductory letter to each of the teachers, especially for transitions to middle school and high school.

[01:04:56] Assuming your child isn't going to be in a self-contained class for the majority of their day. They're going to have multiple teachers and they aren't going to have as much time to get to know and familiarize themselves with your child. Right. Cause it's a shorter time throughout the day. And they also, it's generally not going to be the case that you're going to have every single teacher in your IEP meeting.

[01:05:14] It's not required. Number one by law. You can make the request in and it is possible, but it's not required. So sending out an introductory letter before the first day of school, very brief, like things you want to make sure they know about your child, what makes them tick? What makes them, you know, triggered or what really works for them.

[01:05:35] Just highlighting those things, not writing the whole IEP on one page. I mean, if it's overwhelming, then you don't want to go in with that introduction either, right? Like you don't want them to be like, oh no, this is going to be a difficult mom. But you want to let them know you're there and you're going to be holding them accountable and keeping an eye on, and you're there to support them, like, you know, end it with, if you have any questions I'm always here to help.

[01:05:59] You know, I know this is a team effort and I look forward to working collaboratively to support my child. I think that's really, really helpful whenever every year, not just transitions from one campus to the other, but every year from that point on your child's going to be getting new teachers. So I think that can be useful.

[01:06:19] Yes.

[01:06:19] Lindsay: And don't assume anyone else's what you would tell them into what you would tell them in your, in your introduction letter.

[01:06:25] Dr. Pelangka: Yeah. And unfortunately, don't assume that they're all going to pick up the IEP and read it. I hate to say that and that I think many teachers do, but unfortunately there will be some that don't so yeah, absolutely.

[01:06:39] Lindsay: Any other tips that you want to leave us with?

[01:06:41] Dr. Pelangka: Oh boy, I think, I think that's a big one. I know I said it a lot, but I think just really having those talks with your child for those bigger transitions to middle school, about the, the huge shift in what social interactions are going to look like, because it's so different.

[01:07:03] It's so, so different. And giving them the opportunity to walk through the campus, you know, if possible before school starts and really having that experience can be really anxiety easing and just help them be familiar. I think those are the big pieces. APE again, I think is the biggest, another big area that I just see come up a lot.

[01:07:26] Lindsay: So, and if you do get to take that early tour, or even if it's the fifth graders going onto the campus to take a tour, you know, altogether, if they have somebody with them where it's allowed to take pictures, because then like that's what we did. And then we could put together, you know, before, before we were going to the big, you know, the new school, we looked at the pictures, do you remember this?

[01:07:44] And this is where you're going to go. And just again, so you're, they're walking in with some kind of familiarity. It really? Yeah. It helped us.

[01:07:50] Dr. Pelangka: Yeah. That's a great suggestion. Yeah.

[01:07:54] Lindsay: So, I mean like, I'm going back to that, like making, especially we had the big transition after being out of school for the year and a half.

[01:08:02] Not that it's ever easy, but after Covid , then it's like now we have to go to middle school, which is scary enough and whichever store I know it's all scary.

[01:08:09] Dr. Pelangka: Another one, I think that comes up a lot, maybe to close with his accommodations. I'm sure many parents have heard, Oh, your kid’s getting older and they have to be responsible for seeking their own accommodations.

[01:08:22] And we want to put the onus on them so they can access it. That tends to come up. I feel like as early as fourth grade and then fifth grade, they push it a lot. They're going to middle school. They need to know to ask. And that is definitely not the case. If you want to make sure the accommodations are not written that way, either I'm like upon request, right?

[01:08:42] It has to be written such that the teachers have to give that accommodation or at least offer it. Now of course, the closer you get to college, you definitely do want to ensure that the student is more independent because in college it is the case that no one's going to offer it, but they're not at college yet.

[01:09:00] So teachers still have to be responsible and held accountable for ensuring that they're offering those accommodations. And that's something I see pushed pretty heavily, so just be mindful of that.

[01:09:12] Lindsay: Oh, wow. Yeah. I have not heard that to be upon request. So then what do you, and so if they don't request, they just don't get it.

[01:09:17] Dr. Pelangka: Yeah. Because they didn't request it. So the teacher didn't need to offer it. Yeah.

[01:09:24] Lindsay: Yeah, definitely on that one. Thank you so much. Thank you so much, Dr. Pelangka. You know, as everyone has said today, transitions can be very scary, sometimes worse for us than our kids. The big stuff, definitely. Right. I can think for my kids, but a big step is getting organized and planning ahead as much as possible.

[01:09:45] So remember to breathe and then just think, you know, you use the school tour checklist to keep you focused while walking around with what might seem like the scariest school that you've ever seen, but hopefully it will soon become very comfortable. Take notes, follow up, make a list of all your unanswered questions for your transition IEP meeting.

[01:10:07] Lindsay: The series that Donna has been sharing. It lays out lots of different scenarios to consider lots of what we've talked about today and more so hopefully the great unknown will feel maybe just a little less terrifying and like everything you do. You're going to figure this out right before you have to be ready for the next transition, but don't worry.

[01:10:24] We've got you just remember if you want or need deeper support. Our Undivided Navigators can walk you through your transition meeting prep. Step by step, check out our free 14 day kickstart and get ready to meet your Navigator because our mission is to support you so your children can thrive and we want you to thrive too.

[01:10:42] And next week we have two Facebook lives. We are bringing back our IHSS starter kit next Thursday at 12:30, right here in our Facebook page and the following day. Next Friday at noon, we are speaking to all of the new families out there. Education advocate Kelly Rain Colin will be walking you through the basics for your child's first IEP.

[01:11:03] So please share with any family you think could benefit if you're beyond your first IEP, I'm sure you remember how intimidating that can feel. So we'd love to help those families out. So Donna's going to put the RSVP info for both events in the chat window. And we are here every Thursday at 12:30, talking about topics that matter to our community, lots of extra days here and there.

[01:11:21] So you know where to find us. And lastly, if you're not already a Facebook group member, you're missing out, we are getting really close to welcoming our thousandth member. So we've been celebrating by having daily giveaways for the last two weeks, and we still have the big prizes to give away. So you have by Friday, Tomorrow, right Thursday, tomorrow at 11:59 PM to join our Facebook group and refer an eligible friend who's also a parent raising a child with disabilities. If you do that, you're automatically entered into a random drawing to win one of 10 $100 Volbella belly gift certificates. We do like to feed you. We will announce next week, or as soon as we hit a thousand members. So if you're not already hanging out with us in the group, what are you waiting for?

[01:12:01] Come join us. So thank you again to Dr. Pelangka for getting us prepped and ready for IEP season, and in a couple of weeks, she will be back to tell us all about wrapping up the school year and heading into summer. So to Donna and Iris in the chat. Thank you. And especially to all of you for stopping by Undivided live, have a beautiful weekend.

[01:12:20] See you next week. Bye.



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