Four Ways to Build a Strong IEP TEAM
First I want to go straight to an important point, parents or guardians you are an equal member of the IEP team. As a parent, I did not understand that or my role in the IEP team. When I understood this, my role in my daughter’s IEP team changed. I understood what I need to do as a parent. Things I could do proactively instead of reactively to make my daughter’s education the best possible.
With each tip below have the thought in mind “I am an equal member of the IEP team”.
- Communication– Home to school communication is key for a child’s safety and educational growth at school. Find a tool that works for both the teacher and the family. This could be a communication binder, notebook, communication log, etc. Discuss what things are important, what are we communicating and why. When you can understand the “why” it makes it easier to do.
- Respect- This can be hard at times when different members of the team do not feel heard, valued, or understood. Staying respectful and keeping the focus child-centered will make all the future meetings better trust me on this. Pause and if needed reframe what you were going to say to keep in alinement with the goal of respect.
- Collaboration– Collaboration and thinking outside the box are required when working on an IEP. Many times a child will have very unique needs that need to be addressed, problem-solving a unique need or accommodation that might not have been used before. Asking questions, listening to ideas, building off suggestions can be a powerful tool inside an IEP meeting. Often it is required for many different specialists to work together and having a strong collaborative vibe goes a long way.
- Trust– Trust is so important! I was once asked if I trusted the IEP? For me, in order to trust the IEP, I have to trust the members of the IEP team. Building trust takes time and it’s built on both big and small things that happen during the day, weeks and months at school. It’s built by doing what you say you’re going to do, being honest about difficult things that might happen, showing gratitude and respect, sharing about wins and concerns and feeling heard and valued. My daughter is nonverbal and the amount of trust it takes for me to send her with others is ALOT! I need to know I can count on my team to have her back, a lot of team breakdowns happen because somewhere along the line trust was broken and it is essential for a successful team.
I would love to hear from you on what strategies you use to build a strong IEP team! Also if you are looking for more support please reach out to schedule a Free 15 consultation.