Sunday, November 16, 2008

Steve and I went to the WrightsLaw Parent Bootcamp over the weekend. I am still overwhelmed at the amount of information presented in such a short period of time, but came away with a few key concepts that I wanted to share.

As parents of special needs children, we are in a marriage with the local school system, with no possibility of divorce. We need to make sure that we treat that relationship respectfully, and work collaboratively with the school to make sure that our children get the education to which they are entitled.

It is vital to maintain complete and accurate records of our child's progress. We spent a great deal of time in class learning to read standardized test scores and understanding the bell curve. Once you understand how to compare data over time, you have an objective measure of your child's progress. Charts and graphs can be powerful tools to show progress and regression.

There are specific criteria you can use to evaluate IEP Goals. I had heard the term SMART goals before, and it applies perfectly to an IEP. SMART stands for specific, measurable, action words, realistic, and time sensitive. We will definitely be reviewing Michael's IEP to see where the goals can be smarter!

There are a ton of resources available to help parents become the best advocates possible for their children. Some of the ones I want to remember are:

WrightsLaw main website
Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates
IDEA 2004 Statute and Regulations
Education Resources Information Center

I'll probably add a new section of Special Education links to keep these current, and add more as I find them.

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