Part of effectively advocating for your child is preparing for the ARD (IEP) meeting. One way you as a parent can prepare for the ARD (IEP) meeting is to develop a Parent Agenda. It is used to prepare for the meeting, identify concerns and list problems, propose solutions to those problems, identify issues and problems that are not resolved, and to ask for additional services, accommodations, and modifications.
Below are some topics you can include in the Parent Agenda:
- Things to Include:
- Parent Input:
- Vision Statement
- Acknowledge what is working
- Things you want to discuss:
- Annual Goals and Objectives
- Additional Supports and Services
- Include any additional evaluations you are requesting
- Other items you with to discuss and/or request
One aspect of the Parent Agenda is your Parental Concern/Vision statement. This statement is a very effective advocacy tool. It needs to be child-focused and professional.
Below is a sample Parent Concern/Vision Statement:
Our vision for Johnny is that he will continue to be placed in a typical inclusive environment with supports throughout the next five years. We hope that by the time he turns 13-year-old, he will have developed interests and have a couple of friends that he plays with regularly.
We want John to be more independent in the classroom and during unstructured times such as recess and lunch. We want him to be able to develop more peer relationships without adult facilitation. Also, that he will be able to develop a better understanding of nonverbal communicators and expand his social language abilities in all settings. We want him to continue to be involved in team sports.
We would like to see John develop at least one area of interest that he is passionate and skilled at (e.g., music or writing) and that will bring his self-esteem up.
We are concerned that Johnny is still struggling with remaining on task in the classroom. We are also concerned with the amount of time he spends each night on homework.
Johnny did not master two of his goals last year and we would like to discuss how we as a committee are going to address these goals and what extras supports and services many need to be put in place to ensure that Johnny is able to master these goals this year.
You can even list out your child’s needs and a way for the school to meet those needs.
- Johnny needs less homework: Johnny spends several hours a night working on his assignments. His ADHD medication has worn off and he spends a great of deal time being off task. He needs time to be a child. We have attached a Homework Log for your review so that you can see how much time he spends each night on his assignments.
Avoid personal attacks or pointing out every issue you have with a specific member of your child’s team. You can ask that the school copy your Parent Concern statement into the Parent Concerns section of the IEP verbatim. If your child’s school does not have a Parent Concerns section, then you ask that they copy it into the deliberations or have the Parent Agenda attached to the ARD (IEP) document.
You can follow your child’s ARD (IEP) document or the school’s ARD (IEP) agenda in developing your Parent Agenda to make sure you are including all the topics you want to discuss. Be sure to include specific examples and if you are asking for something that was recommended in either a school or private evaluation that you include who recommended the accommodation, support or service.
- Johnny is having difficulty remaining on task as documented on page 20 by Ms. LSSP in the Full and Individual Evaluation dated April 1, 2017. She has recommended that Johnny receive support through a behavior goal and through OT services. We would like to request a behavior goal and OT services to address this need.
Everything on your agenda is not going to be able to be discussed at the meeting. Or it may be discussed but because of the feedback you are getting you may need to table it for another day. Place a star by issues that you feel you must discuss at this meeting. For items that were not discussed at the meeting you can either include those in the follow-up letter or schedule another meeting. Rome was not built-in just one day and neither will your child’s education plan.
Plan to provide the school a copy of the Parent Agenda at least 36 hours before the meeting so that everyone has time to read the Agenda and gather in additional information to address your concerns. Keep in mind that not everyone will read the Agenda before the meeting and be sure to bring extra copies to the meeting.