Success at school

Planning a school meeting or meeting with therapists (or both) with regard to having an IEP (individualised education plan) can be challenging. I have attended these meetings so many times, I’ve lost count. And I have a few tips for you as parents/guardian’s to make this meeting as successful as possible. Hopefully without the stress. The first thing to remember is “Don’t make this harder than it has to be.”

First of all, this may be the only meeting you will have made available to you in a year, so, make the most of it.

  1. Don’t go running into the school on the first few days that everyone is back, all the staff are under lots of pressure at that time, either leave it for a week to 10 days or have it organised prior to the school start date.
  2. You are the manager of the meeting so it’s up to you to liaise with the school, therapists and anyone else you would like to attend the meeting. This is your responsibility. I personally would not have the child attend the meeting at this time if the child is under 16. However, I would sit down with the child and key members of the meeting afterwards to discuss the plan and also to ask their opinion or anything he/she would like to add.
  3. Plan, plan, plan. What is your plan for your child in the next 6/12 months? What would you like to achieve for him/her (realistically)? What is working? What are you happy with? How can you move forward?
  4. Have all your letters, school report, doctor’s report to hand and have copies made for everyone who attends. Ask yourself “what do you want out of today’s meeting?”
  5. Make sure you have lots of time, allow at least 40 minutes prior to the meeting and 40 minutes after the meeting to allow plenty of time so you do not have to rush to another appointment.
  6. Ask the group. What else should you be doing in their expert opinion to help your child achieve a milestone and if you can’t help in this area ask them who should support you? But you do have work to do (it is a full-time job) and acknowledge this.
  7. Try not to focus on your child’s dis-abilities and more on his/her abilities and work with these. Work with what you have. (not the opposite)
  8. Try and keep personalities out of the meeting, it really doesn’t matter if you like a teacher or not, what does matter is their ability to help your child achieve their goal and work together.
  9. Be patient. Try and stay calm and focused.
  10. Be thankful and grateful to everyone who attends. Thank them for being part of your child’s life and that their input will be part of shaping his/her future.

Remember, Every Childhood, Lasts a Lifetime.