ATTENDING THE IEP/504 MEETING
Now that you know what you want for your child in school
some additional tips will help you get there when you
attend the IEP meeting.
First, do not criticize the other team members. This is
more difficult than it sounds. It is often the case that
a parent has expectations for the accommodations their
child will receive and that these expectations vary from
the schools. Meetings get scheduled, canceled and
rescheduled. Teachers and administrators don't understand
your position. There are lots of reasons for frustration
but you do not want to "bite to hand that feeds you."
Remain assertive but not aggressive at all times.
Second, understand the schools position. You need to be
able to understand how the school sees your child's problem,
what their interests are, what the school wants, what their
fears are and what they are afraid will happen if they give
you what you want. When you understand these things it will
be easier to develop solutions to allow you in the school
to get your needs met.
Third, with this in mind, try to seek "win-win" solutions.
Remember, this is not just about your child. If the school
loses in your negotiations with them expect them to undermine
and sabotage the solution.
Fourth, if you anticipate anything but a brief meeting, bring
food. Sharing food and drink helps to build productive working
relationships. This is especially true if the parties have been
polarized or are mistrustful of each other.
Your ultimate goal is to develop an excellent working
relationship with the school personnel. When you come to a
meeting prepared, organized and informed you will contribute
to the success of this goal. When you present yourself with
a positive, upbeat, assertive but kind attitude you were more
likely to achieve what you want.
Resource: Wright, Pam; Wright, Pete, From Emotions to Advocacy,
Harbor House Law Press, Inc., 2002.