I HAD to fix these IEP Mistakes!

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Dear Special Needs Parent, I've been fixing IEPs for as long as I can remember!  As a teacher I was fixing IEPs to make my boss happy, but I knew I was not including things that my student's needed.  So I'd call up the parents and tell them that THEY had to ask for certain things to happen.  I'd give them a list and say, "If you ask this in the meeting, I'll back you up, but I can't ask for it because my boss will get mad." Now this wasn't just in one school or because of one stinky boss.  This was the life of a special education teacher.  I just knew I HAD to get certain things fixed in the IEPs! Of course, I couldn't do that forever. I had to make a choice and I chose YOU.  For the past 20 years, I've been working for you because your children need you to be their best advocate and I know I can give you the right words and tools to make that happen.  I don't even have to show up to your meeting. (Let's face it, most decisions are made before/after the meeting anyway.) So here are the latest things I just HAD to fix in a few IEPs: 1. Parent Input Statements: Ugh, when I read on an IEP that the parent just wants their child be happy, I get so mad!  First, if I'm reading the IEP, usually the parent isn't worried about their child's happiness, they are worried about progress.  Helping parents put together a great Parent Input statement to make sure they are showing their true concerns and desired outcomes for their child is an awesome thing to be able to do! 2. Clean Up Junk Goals: There are many reasons a goal can be junky, but my spring clean up of IEPs often focuses on getting useless goals out of a child's IEP.  We don't want to waste time learning what a penny is when you can't even buy a piece of candy for a penny anymore! (I'm not that old, 10 cents was as cheap as it got at the baseball stand when I was growing up.)  Anyway, let's get the junk goals out and give your child real goals for the future. 3. ESY: If I hear one more time that the only criteria for ESY is regression, I'm going to scream.  There's so much more to consider before a team should confirm or deny ESY services. Ok, time to get back to work at The Special Needs Education Help Center...REMEMBER, never let a broken system convince you that you have a broken child. Best, Catherine Whitcher, M.Ed

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