This time of year I receive many requests from families for support as they navigate the process of establishing learning, behavior, and social goals with a child's individualized learning plan. This can be a stressful time for parents, however, there are a number of strategies I recommend year after year to help maintain a healthy approach.
1. Maintain clear and consistent communication. Conversations should be ongoing and take place throughout the course of the entire school year. A quarterly email that includes success, questions, and concerns is a simple way to ensure everyone remains on the same page. State your concerns by using examples from the classroom or appropriate setting and use a daily or weekly communication log with the appropriate staff member to keep track of the areas or skills needing monitoring. If you find yourself behind on the conversation use this planning period to set up communication goals for the upcoming school year.
2. Gather the appropriate data. As parents there are a number of areas where our intuition tells us that something is successful or needs further attention, however, in order to effectively adjust and support individual goals make a point to document events (such as classroom assignments, projects, interactions, etc.) that will support your request. As mentioned above, a daily or weekly communication log is a great way to maintain accurate documentation. It is never too late to start documenting and such a process can be discussed during any meeting with your child's teacher or school district.
3. Provide any supporting documents you have available. Doctor's are required to provide copies of medical records and patients (including parents) have the right to request all lab results at the time of service. Maintaining records in your own home will help you provide supporting information and important relevant medical information to the school district.
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