Our Special Education To Do List
Be Responsible: Prepare for the School Year

The first step in preparing for the upcoming school year is to be responsible for your child's education. 

  • You are responsible for your child's current placement.
  • You are responsible for knowing what curriculum, programs and methodologies are being used.
  • You are responsible for support services provided.
  • You are responsible for assuring all accommodations start on the first day of school.
  • You are responsible for assuring every teacher has a copy of the IEP.
  • You are responsible for assuring every teacher is trained to use any assistive technology by the first day of school.
  • You are responsible for assuring every staff member from the lunch lady to the librarian knows who your child is.
Are you surprised? Isn't the IEP team supposed to take care of these details and then report to me?  Isn't it their job?


You have been wanting all along to be an equal member of the IEP team.  This does not put you in a position to demand everyone do their part, but it gives you the opportunity to collaborate with the team to make sure your child's IEP program is in place, securely and executed consistently.

The IEP team is responsible for the above list, but not only for your child.  Teachers usually have 10 or more IEP's to handle on a regular basis.  If you want the IEP team to execute your child's needs, then you must show them the way.

How?  Here are a few starting points:

  • Write an introduction letter of your child to the staff
  • Read your child's IEP and go to staff members to ask if they are aware of the equipment/accommodations your child's needs and how can you help them
  • Present yourself as the staff's partner in educating your child
  • Ask if there is anything you can do for the team, even if it is making copies or cutting out name tags, make yourself useful
Common Disappointments in Special Education:

  • Some teachers never received a copy of the IEP
  • Accommodations/Supports aren't implemented immediately
  • Student and staff are not properly trained on the proper usage of assistive technology devices.
  • Support services are delayed significantly
  • Wrong classes/schedules are given to students
  • Parents are not informed of stress their child is experiencing
  • Months go by and IEP goals have not been addressed
  • Data is not being taken on a regular basis
  • Progress is not being made and parents are not notified
  • Progress is being made and parents are not notified
Taking responsibility for being a partner in your child's education can help avoid these common disappointments. What are you going to do to avoid special education disappointments this year?

What is the purpose of IDEA and Your Child's IEP?

Many are surprised to find out that the purpose of your child's IEP is the following:

"The purposes of this title are 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." (Section 1400(d)(1)(A))


Can you see the powerful impact you can have on advocating for your child and students when you relate the purpose of your requests to the child's need to prepare for:

1.  Further Education
2.  Employment
3.  Independent Living

Now is the time to take an honest look at your child's education plan. 

Is it looking towards the future?

Ask yourself:  Is this goal going to prepare my child for the future?  If not, it may be time to rethink the contents of your child's IEP.

Don't let another year go by without focusing on your outcomes!

 Info Provided by:

Catherine Whitcher, M.Ed

Nationwide Special Needs Consultant - Speaker
800.432.0170  -Toll Free Phone/Fax

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Responsibility: Step 1 of 7 Special Education Success Strategies
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