1

Organize, Organize, Organize

o Keep a binder of every communication between you and the school, all of your child's evaluations and school records, and any other documents that are relevant and may be helpful in advocating for your child o Highlight supportive material o Identify negative materials and prepare rebuttals o Draft some of the things that you want to see in the IEP before the meeting

2

Always ask; Why?

o Make sure the school explains all decisions that you don't understand o Don't allow the meeting to move forward if you do not understand something that has just happened or that was just said

3

Be Your Child's "Professional" Advocate

o Do your best to remain calm and polite throughout all interactions with the school o Take very detailed notes on everything that is said in meetings and who said it o You may bring someone with you to be your designated note taker o Don't be intimidated o Focus on your child's needs o Know when to fight and when not to fight o Only fight for the crucial issues and be more flexible on others o Pay attention to what is written on the IEP form; if it is not in writing, it will not be implemented o Don't limit your options to all or nothing o Don't be rushed into making a decision o Familiarize yourself with your school's IEP form o Remember to review the DEC 5 at the end of the meeting to be sure that it reflects exactly what was discussed, agreed to, and any disagreements o Don't sign the DEC 5 unless it accurately reflects the meeting