Our Pro Tips are designed to help parents navigate the complex maze of special education with confidence. Whether you’re a new family going to your first IEP meeting, or an experienced parent trying to figure out transitions after high school, our Special Education Pro Tips are here to help.
Special Education Pro Tip – January is a month to take inventory.
January should always be the month marked on your home/school calendar as a time to to do a quick status check on how things are going at school. This is different from the regular progress reports that school districts are required by law to send home at least as frequently as report cards. The January inventory is a point in time you should ask yourself generally “how is the school year going for my child?” – in other words, what is your gut feeling about the school year.
If your child has complex needs, there is no simple answer to this question. But in general, by January parents should have a sense of whether school is going well or not. If you’re new as a parent to this process, don’t worry, you’ll get better at it. Experienced parents typically know how the school year is going by November.
Here are some ways to think about taking inventory:
- Can my child make it through a week of school without a significant meltdown?
- Using whatever manner my child communicates, are they able to generally describe a typical school day and the work that they do?
- Does my child overall seem to like school and have positive feelings about it?
- Is my child able to mostly complete the work assigned to them? Are they able to communicate in some manner what they are learning?
If you can’t answer yes to all or most of these questions, it may be time to convene a team meeting (an IEP or 504 Plan meeting) to discuss options. Those options will be different for every child. But the discussions need to happen.