Goal Wish 

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So many times parents approach me with IEP problems and their email or phone call starts with the words "I wish"... I wish the IEP team would "get" my child's needs. I wish the teacher would stop sending home so much homework. I wish the therapists would communicate with me more. I wish I knew exactly what to say at the IEP meetings. Wishes are great, but they most likely aren't going to come true unless you have a plan.  We need to get that plan in place so you can see changes in your child's education! Let's tackle those things I hear everyday from parents. I wish the IEP team would "get' my child's needs.  There are so many things we can do to help your child be known better to the IEP. The first step is that you need to write an introduction letter about your child every year to the IEP team. It should include likes and dislikes, fun facts about their life/vacations/experiences and other details that are unique to your child.  Think about what you would tell a caregiver about your child if you were going to leave them alone with your child for 8 hours...what would they NEED to know to make sure that not only everyone survives, but that they have some fun. I wish the teacher would stop sending home so much homework. Have you put a homework plan in place on your child's IEP or 504? Yes! You absolutely can have a homework plan! I suggest no more than 10 minutes per grade level be spent on homework.  The work that isn't completed within those minutes would not be counted as wrong. You as the parent can help the child prioritize what gets done in those minutes. For example, you might want to complete the first two math problems in each section instead of spending all the math time stuck in the first section of the worksheet. I wish the therapists would communicate with me more. Do you have a communication plan written into your child's IEP? Get it in there! You absolutely should be communicating with your child's therapists at least monthly via email.  Supporting the school therapists at home is much more fun than worksheets from the classroom :) Ask the therapists for an extra set of tools/pics they might be using at school so you can create your own tool box at home. I wish I knew exactly what to say at the IEP meetings.  You absolutely can know exactly what to say at your next IEP meeting.  There are a few catch phrases every parent should memorize, including "can you please put that in writing", "please show me the policy/rules you are referring to" and "that decision is not appropriate at this time".  BIG HINT: Did you notice that I did not say "I do not feel that decision is appropriate at this time". You can't base your decisions on feelings, it's about facts. Your statements at the IEP meeting need to be all about the facts!  You can get more facts, phrases, letter templates and help for IEP prep here... No more making wishes about how things will change for your child's IEP.  Make the plan. Make it happen.

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