IEP Negotiations can be tricky. Throw in emotions and a system that is broken (most of the time) and IEP meetings are just down right frustrating. Here are 4 tips on how to negotiate a successful IEP for your child… 1. Know Your Team: Yes, you know their names and emails, but let’s get serious. There are key players on your child’s team that can make or break their education. You need to meet with these people often and decide the key decisions for your child’s education outside of the IEP meeting. Yes, I know, that is not how it’s “supposed” to be, but I’m not here with rose colored glasses on and neither are you. Most IEP decisions are made prior to the actual IEP meeting and you need to be part of that process. 2. Press Pause: You know what happens in a sports game when one team is scoring big against the other team? The losing team calls time out. Yes, it’s to discuss strategy, but it is also to stop the momentum of the game. You have the power to stop the momentum of an IEP meeting at any time. Call time out. Ask to pause. Step out of the room. I use this strategy often with my clients. If the parents I’m working with are part of www.iepbootcamp.com, they can post in our private group and get questions answered (I’m usually available within a few hours of questions being posted). If the parent I’m working with is a private 1:1 client I am most definitely available by phone/text during their meeting to coach them through sticking points. Just remember to press pause during your next IEP meeting when you feel your temperature rising! 3. Be Resourceful: Being resourceful does not mean walking into a meeting with a handful full of books and strategies that you think will work for your child. You must first ask what resources are being used, then ask if there are any other resources in the district that could be used, THEN bring in the suggestion of outside resources once you have exhausted all school district resources. Following these steps to exhaust all school resources first will help you bring in more resources, if necessary. 4. Be Compelling: Negotiating for your child if not about what you want for your child’s education. It is about what your child needs to be prepared for further education, employment and independent living. EVERY request you make or negotiation you bring to the table must be centered around your child’s needs in those areas. (Hint: the purpose of IDEA law states preparing for further education, employment and independent living is the focus of your child’s IEP.) I'll help you find the right words for negotiating in IEP Boot Camp Online...check it out.