It can be challenging to secure appropriate special educational services. I truly believe that we, as parents, need to know some basic and simple facts about the PPT process and advocacy. I speak to many parents groups on a variety disability-related issues. One of my presentations is The 10 Things Every Parent Needs to Know About Advocating for their Child with a Disability. In my discussions I share far more than ten tips. And when I appeared on Better Connecticut, time only allowed for me to share 5 tips, but here the top 10 tips I usually share with parents that I beleive they should know.
#1 Education is not just academics
It’s so much more……. especially for kids who have autism. So don’t let anyone tell you you’re child has “great grades” so he doesn’t qualify for special education. Examine the areas beyond academics, as I explain in tip #2.
#2 Know the categories of IEP goals or the areas that autism could be effecting your child in school:
Social / Behavioral
Gross / Fine Motor
Employment / Post Secondary
#3 What you don’t know can hurt you – and ultimately your child’s education program – so you should become as knowledgeable as possible about:
Your child’s disability
Your child’s educational needs
Best educational practices in your child’s disability
Special education law / procedural safeguards
#4 You are a member of the Team
Be included in the planning of IEP goals and objectives
Request proposed IEP goals prior to PPT
Meet with the team regularly
#5 Appropriate programming is rooted in evaluations and in the evaluator’s recommendations. Evaluations should identify issue and make prescriptive recommendations on how to appropriately address the issues. So know when your child is due for his or her triennial evaluations. #6 Your school district has the right to evaluate your child and you have the right to disagree with the results You have the right to disagree with the results and ask for an independent evaluation at the district's expense. If the school district decides not to pay for the evaluation, the school must ask for a hearing without delay.
#7 Understand the purpose of a PPT
A PPT is a forum in which to make decisions about your child’s education program. A PPT is the only place the team can make substantive decisions or changes about your child’s program. Teachers can’t make decisions alone – especially outside of the PPT process. Decisions are made by the PPT team at a PPT.
#8 “the devil is in the details”
If it’s not in writing, it didn’t happen.
If it’s not in writing, there’s no commitment to do it.
Follow up important conversations with emails that document your discussions.
#9 You can write an addendum to a PPT
You can submit an addendum to the PPT to add anything that was discussed but not included in the PPT document. You have the right to add any information that was discussed that you want to have on the record. You’re addendum can also serve to correct discrepancies.
#10 Learn about transition services
If your child receives special education and has an IEP (Individualized Education Plan), he or she are eligible to be educated until the age of 21. This process should start around 15 years of age. Transition services include post-secondary education, vocational training, integrated employment, continuing and adult education, adult services, independent living or community participation.