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August 28, 2021

3 Ways to Increase Your Child's IEP Success in school

I'll never forget the first school year after my son received his first Individual Education Plan. I assumed that the teachers had read my son's Individual Education Plan (IEP) and understood how to implement his accommodations from the very first day of school. So I was upset when I realized that my son's teachers had not read his IEP until a couple of weeks into the school year. Because the first weeks of school have a strong impact on your child's school year.

After that first year, I started a Back to School Preparation Routine to create a team around my son's so they can start their year off right.

Share Goals and Expectations Early

It's important that you share your and your child's goals with the teacher. My boys and I do this by writing a letter of introduction to the teacher. In my letter, I share my son's diagnosis, accommodations, and reactions to situations so the teacher can have a better understanding of how to interact with my son. I send this letter to each of my son's teachers to ensure that everyone is on the same page. My sons write letters to their teachers that introduce themselves and share information about themselves and what they want to accomplish in school this year. For templates of these letters click here.

Partner with Your Child’s Teacher

Your introduction letter is the perfect opportunity to create a partnership with your child's teachers. Which will create a teamwork relationship when it concerns your child’s needs in school. When my son was being evaluated for private placement his team of therapists and teachers and I were on the same page when we had to talk to the department that processes these types of requests.   These are the ways that you create the team around your child:

  • Throughout the school year keep in contact with the team by sending emails that ask for updates on your child's progress and what you can do to support your child with the goals they working on. 

  • Send a summary of your child's IEP accommodations at the beginning of the year to these general education teachers.

  • When issues in school come up reach out to the teacher for an explanation before you request an Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting. Always remember to keep all emails for your IEP binder. 

  • Acknowledge the teachers and therapist work with your child. Everyone loves to be seen especially during these crazy days. The boys and I will buy their teachers holiday gifts for teachers appreciation day, Christmas, and the end of the school year.

Maximize Learning: Know Your Child’s Rights

It's so important during this time of COVID that you know your child's rights. Children with Individual Education Plans (IEP) suffered a major loss in services and academic support last school year. Because the school was not prepared and moved slowly when it came to creating alternative ways to provide services. Such as offering teletherapy to children.  I had to make some calls myself to ensure that my son received his speech and occupational therapy via Telehealth. Which I found out was an option when I spoke o another parent who was receiving the services for her children a week after schools went virtual.

You can brush up on your knowledge of your child's rights with the " Return To School Roadmap: Child Find Under Part B of the Individual With Disabilities Education Act” recently released from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. This document outlines the following: 

  • Meeting timelines of evaluations

  • Having your child assessed for loss of academic skills to ensure IEP is current and helping your child make progress.

  • Procedure for when your child has COVID

  • Virtual Learning 

Also, familiarize yourself with " Compensatory Services", which is designed to put your child in the place they would have been having they not been deprived of special education and related services. There are two different measures courts have used, a quantitative approach and a qualitative approach. With a “quantitative approach,” the court provides an hour for hour replacement of services lost. While the "qualitative approach", Awards are based on individualized assessments, leading to different results depending on the differing needs of students.  Check out this FAQ provide by COPAA that addresses how to advocate for compensatory education for your child.


Every school year is exciting because the boys and I get to our school shopping but I also get to review my sons goals for the upcoming year and the previous year. This is a chance for me to think about how much progress my boys have made and how I can support them in the upcoming school year. 


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