Adding Parent Input to the IEP – Here’s How!

Adding Parent Input to the IEP – Here’s How!

My district did this to me.  I wrote a child complaint and DESE found in favor of the district.  So, who do you complain to next?  OSEP.  Been there.  Done that.  They wouldn’t do anything either.  I have the complaint and DESE’s answer.

Last week we posted about using an IEP Parent Attachment to add input to your child’s IEP.
We heard immediately from Daunna who wrote:
The question was “How can I deal with [the school's refusal to include a parent attachment]?”
Judy Bonnell’s parent attachment form is a great idea, but it’s not really an attachment unless the school includes it in the IEP.
So what IS the strategy for getting the school to include your attachment as part of the IEP?

1. Review the Findings and Purposes of IDEA 2004
20 U.S.C. 1400 (c) (5) and (d)

Congress found that the education of children with disabilities can be made more effective by “strengthening the role and responsibility of parents and ensuring that families of such children have meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children at school and at home;”

The purpose of passing IDEA was to ” to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living; ” and “to ensure that the rights of children with disabilities and parents of such children are protected;…”

Check page 46678 in the Commentary to the federal regulations (2006). It states that certain “…provisions are important to encourage parent participation in the IEP process, which is an important safeguard for ensuring FAPE under the Act.”

And, on the same page, “Parents are free to provide input into their child’s IEP through a written report if they so choose.”

2. Get a Copy of your State Special Education Regulations. What do your state special ed regs say about IEPs and your role as the child’s parent?

3. Write a Short Businesslike Letter

After you know what the law says, write a short businesslike letter to the director of special ed and /or superintendent.

Briefly describe your attempt(s) to participate in your child’s IEP, that you thought you were a member of your child’s IEP team, that you asked to have your input included as an attachment to the IEP, but that INSERT PERSONS NAME advised you that “school policy” does not allow you to provide input.

You are confused. This school policy is not consistent with anything you’ve read about IEPs and your role as the child’s parent. Perhaps there has been a misunderstanding.

Request (very politely) that the district provide you with their written policy that prevents you from adding a parent attachment to your child’s IEP. To save time, you’ll be happy to come to the school to pick this information up.

Try to keep your letter to one page. The tone should be polite and businesslike. You want to give school officials a way to change their position without losing face or admitting fault.

Hand-deliver the letter (don’t send it by mail or certified). When you deliver your letter, make a note about who you gave it to, what the person said, what the person was wearing, anything else that happened at the time you delivered the letter. (It’s quite possible that the school may lose your letter so this detailed information shows that you did deliver it.)

As Congress wanted to strengthen the role of parents and ensure that families “have meaningful opportunities to participate in the education of their children”, any district policy about barring parent IEP attachments is not consistent with the spirit or the letter of the law.

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