S01 Episode 3 - Preparing for your IEP with Child Advocate Sandi Ames | Pt. 2
S01 - EPISODE 3
Welcome friends, On today’s episode of ”Advocate like a Mother™ Podcast,” Michelle and Ashley chat with the Sandi Ames. Sandi is the director of Parents CAN which stands for Collaborate, Advocate, Navigate. Parents CAN is a non profit that provides education and support to individuals with disabilities, their families, and those that serve them. She is an incredible child advocate and parent mentor.
We sat around Michelle’s kitchen table with Sandi to discuss IEP’s (individual educational plan). We discuss goals and the actual assessment in our first part of this two part series. Sandi is a powerhouse advocate when it comes to IEPs and the school, she’s been in the field since the mid 80s! On this second part of this episode we discussed the actual meeting itself. Sandi is working hard on giving the educators the resources that they need. Going into the IEP meeting make sure you know this is not a us vs. them, We need to all work together. You should review the assessment, and the proposed goals, make sure you have a vision for your child. Come prepared with your talking points. Keep in mind we want to build a strong relationship and help build this foundation for our kids. Be proactive not reactive. Don’t feel overwhelmed when you feel emotionally charged during the meeting, take a break, take a deep breathe, and come back. There’s so many approaches. You can always bring someone with you to take some notes. You have a voice in this, you can ask for them to explain their abbreviations and district terms. It’s your meeting, we are equal members of the team. To make it a little less stressful we have included a checklist you can bring in alongside your brag sheet!
To any parent struggling with a child that has an IEP, you are not alone. We are here to help encourage you, and to help find your community.
BEFORE THE ASSESSMENTS:
Make a Brag Sheet that includes pictures of your child, your future goals for your child, their strengths, what they are working on, what works for them and what doesn’t.
Make sure to have copies for all the therapists, teachers, school nurse, etc.
BEFORE THE MEETING:
Ask for a draft copy of the documents to be given to you at least 5 days before the meeting.
Read over assessments and make sure everything adds up. If you want a second set of eyes, consider hiring and advocate.
Make a list of your own goals/concerns/questions before the meeting. Some examples are: you’d like daily report from the teacher (about what they ate, if they used the potty, etc.), you want only females to change your child’s diaper, etc.
BRING TO THE MEETING:
Snacks and or drinks for the team - make sure to check with the school district before hand to make sure this is ok.
A notepad and pen to take notes..
An advocate or a friend to take notes and support you (make sure the IEP team knows in advance)
Pictures of your child
Your list of questions, goals and concerns you want to address.
Work samples that show progress or concerns.
Any private evaluations you want to share.
A binder or folder to keep documents received during the meeting.
Michelle mentioned that she wrote a blog post all about Eli's first IEP and a guide for other parents on how to be prepared for their child's first IEP. Read her article below:
And our friend Tiffany Stafford (if you want to link to her, here is her FB link: https://www.facebook.com/tiffany.n.stafford ) made a great template for brag sheets or as she calls them, vision statements. You can find the template on her blog below.