Parent Agenda


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
      • Concerns
    • Things you want to discuss:
      • PLAAFP
      • Annual Goals and Objectives
      • Accommodations
    • 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.

Special Education Process: Step 3-Eligibility

With school starting back up, I have seen an increase in posts on various support group pages from parents who state that their child’s school district did not find their child with X disability to be eligible for special education services. Many times there are several responses such as if your child has a disability they automatically qualify for special education services.  A school district cannot deny your child special education services.  Continue reading

Toolbox Tips for Parents #8: Back-To-School

back-to-schoolI was in Wal-Mart earlier this week and noticed that school supplies are already making their way into the shopping carts of parents.  I thought now would be a good time to give some back-to-school tips to help parents be prepared for the upcoming school year. Continue reading

Problem Report Worksheet

Do you keep track of all the times your child’s school calls you to report an incident or behavior?  If not, you may want to consider doing so.  A great tool to use is the Problem Report WorksheetContinue reading

Toolbox Tips for Parents #5: The Texas Legal Framework website

tips-for-parents #5
The Legal Framework is a joint project between the Texas Education Agency and Region 18 Education Service Center.  The website contains links to both Texas Special Education law and Federal Special Education law.  You can search the law by topic (i.e. Evaluations).  Some of the other information contained on this site:

  • Notice of Procedural Safeguards (both in English and Spanish)
  • Admission, Review and Dismissal Guide (both in English and Spanish)

You can enter the district in which your child attends and pull up board policies for your district that pertain to the topic or area of law you are researching.

The Legal Framework

Q&A: Scheduling ARD (IEP) Meetings

Today, I am going to address three questions that I am often asked regarding scheduling ARD (IEP) meetings.

Can I request an ARD (IEP) meeting before my child’s Annual meeting?  Yes, at any time you can request an ARD (IEP) meeting.  Make your request in writing to either your child’s principal or the ARD coordinator.  In Texas, the school then has 5 school days to contact you to schedule the meeting or provide you with a written response as to why they are not going to schedule an ARD (IEP) meeting. Continue reading

2016 Accommodations for STAAR


October 20, 2015 Update:  A new training titled “Supplemental Aids for STAAR, STAAR Spanish, STAAR L, and STAAR A:  What’s Allowed and What’s Not?” has been added to the page.  Supplementary aids are paper-based resources such as: mnemonic devices (PEMDAS); graphic organizers; math charts; grade-appropriate grammar and mechanics rules; graphics for Science; formula Triangles for Science; blank maps for Social Studies; and timelines for Social Studies.

September 22, 2015: 

The Texas Education Agency has created a page for the 2016 Accommodations for Students with Disabilities.  The Accommodations manual has not yet been released.  I will keep this post updated with the link once the accommodations for the 2016 STAAR Tests have been posted.

HB 440-Adapting PE Curriculum


The 84th Texas Legislature session passed HB 440 to clarify that “modifications for physical education should be provided for all public education students who have disabilities, including mental and emotional health or intellectual or developmental disabilities.”  The bill amends the current law and is effective for the 2015-2016 school year.

The Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education (TCASE), lists several implementation considerations:

  • Raise ARD committee awareness that PE accommodations/modifications/adaptations are available for students with any special education disability, including emotional/behavioral disabilities.
  • Provide training on the development of appropriate accommodations, modifications, adaptations for students with more than physical disabilities.  Give examples what an adapted PE curriculum could look like for students with emotional/behavioral disabilities in or outside of a general education setting.
  • Provide professional development on positive behavior interventions and supports, de-escalation strategies, proper use and implementation of physical redirection and/or restraint.
  • Ensure operating guidelines include the PE teacher as one who receives relevant portions of a student’s IEP.
  • Consider the need for any specialized equipment and assessment tools.

This post is intended to give you a general idea of the law.  However, each situation is different.  If you need more specific information about how the law applies to your situation you should contact a special education attorney.