Preparing for Your Child’s Special Education ARD/IEP Meeting

 

The Purpose of IDEA, The Individual with Disabilities Education Act, is to prepare

students for further education, employment and independent living.” IDEA ensures all eligible students with disabilities between the ages of 3-21 receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

 

IDEA requires the Admission, Review and Dismissal (ARD) committee to meet at least once a year to develop, review and revise your child’s IEP. You are an equal member of your child’s ARD committee, along with the schools designated administrator, regular and special education teachers, evaluation personnel and others such as related services personnel. The ARD Committee should work collaboratively with a goal of reaching agreement by consensus.

The school must give you written notice at least five school days before the ARD meeting.

 

Parents are allowed to bring anyone they wish with them to the ARD meeting. It is a

good idea for both parents to attend, if possible. Parents can bring another relative,

friend or neighbor if they would be more comfortable attending the meeting with

someone. Parents can also bring someone to help them understand the meeting,

such as an advocate. Some parent organizations provide advocate training for

parents or other interested individuals who may be able to attend ARD meetings with

other parents. There are also professional advocates who may be able to attend an

ARD meeting with parents. See the resources below.

If you want to go to your child’s ARD meeting, but the date, time or place is not

convenient for you, ask the school to reschedule the meeting. The school must

attempt to schedule the meeting at a time and place agreeable to you and school

officials.

At the meeting, you have a right to have an interpreter (e.g., American Sign

Language, Spanish or other foreign language that the school can reasonably provide)

paid for by the school. If you need an interpreter, you must be sure to tell the school

before the meeting.

You may want to meet with your child’s teacher(s) or related services provider before

the meeting to discuss possible IEP goals and to learn more about the curriculum

for your child’s grade level. This is sometimes referred to as a Pre-ARD Meeting

It is important for students of transition age (at least by age 14 and older) to attend

their IEP meetings so they can be prepared to plan for their transition from school

to work and for the transfer of rights when they turn age 18.

Students must learn to participate in the meeting and learn to speak up for themselves and to make decisions about their life. This is referred to as self advocacy.

 

Order of the ARD/IEP Meeting:

·         Review of evaluation data and other information

·         Determination of eligibility

·         Review present levels of academic achievement and functional performance

·         Development of individual education programs or annual goals

·         Development of behavior intervention plan

·         Transition planning (by age 14)

·         Graduation

·         Additional considerations for students with Autism (AU) and Visual Impairment (VI):

(Certain items are required to be discussed for students with AU or VI, but parents can request the ARD committee discuss any of these items for other special education students if needed.)

·         Modifications / Accommodations

·         State and district assessments

·         Consider extended school year (ESY) services

·         Determine services to be provided, which may include classes, where provided, coordination

between regular and special education, grading, related services, transportation needs.

·         Determine placement

·         Consider least restrictive environment (LRE)

Assurances or effects of removal from the general education classroom: Consider the

opportunity to participate and consider the potential harmful effects

·         ARD committee members sign IEP form, either in agreement or disagreement:

·         Do not sign “agree” if you do not agree to the terms of the IEP.

·         What is known as a 10-day recess can always be called to give families and schools the opportunity to gather more information before making a final decision.

·         Parent signs initial consent for services: This is only required for an initial ARD meeting

 

The Individual Education Program (IEP) is a written plan, designed just for one

student. It is an agreement between the school and parents on how the student will

be educated. Although the IEP is not as detailed as a teacher’s lesson plan, it must

contain measurable annual goals in each area of need. The IEP states what special

education and related services and supplemental aids and services the school will

provide, and when and where those services will be provided. The IEP must consider

and address the academic, developmental, and functional needs of the student.

Services must be based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable.

 

All decisions in your child’s IEP must be individualized, which is why it is called an

Individual Education Program. Individual means that the plan is made especially for

him and is tailored to meet his needs. Your child’s special education needs are likely

to be different from those of another student, even one with the same disability. His

IEP should reflect those differences and not be exactly the same as that of any other

student. IDEA requires that students IEPs ensure the student participates in and  makes progress in the general education curriculum, known in Texas as the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills, or TEKS.

 

Before the ARD Meeting – A Parent Checklist

(Be sure to keep a copy for yourself.)

___Read your notice to see what issues will be discussed and who will attend.

___Be sure enough time is allotted for the meeting.

___ If necessary, request the meeting be rescheduled at a time you can attend or when more

time can be allotted for the meeting.

___ Ask the school to invite any representatives of outside agencies (e.g., ECI, DARS, DADS,

etc.) you think should attend.

___ Ask the school for copies of any relevant information you do not already have, including:

___Latest evaluation and any new testing the school has done

___ Teacher progress notes (if necessary, request a meeting to talk with the

teacher(s) and others for information on the student’s progress such as a pre-ARD

meeting)

___ Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for your child’s age-appropriate

grade level

___Student Code of Conduct

___The ARD committee agenda

___Blank IEP forms/any drafts of IEPs the school may have done

___ Gather any reports you have from outside therapists, tutors, consultants or doctors.

___ Make a list of your child’s gifts and talents.

___ Read the TEKS and list the ones you think your child could learn “as is” or with

modifications. The TEKS can be found on line at www.tea.state.tx.us/teks.

___ Make a list of the instructional/behavioral modifications and accommodations you know

work best for your child.

___ Make a list of other things you would like your child to learn during the year.

How is this going to help her? ____________________________________

Will she be able to participate more fully in school life? _________________

Will she become more independent? _______________________________

How will her life change or improve? _______________________________

___ Review the lists and mark four or five things you think are most important for your child.

These will be the basis for developing her IEP goals during the ARD meetings.

___ Make a list of her areas of functioning that would increase with assistive technology

(communication, mobility, etc.). Be prepared to make requests for assistive technology

if it is needed.

___ Make extra copies of each list to bring to the meeting.

___ Decide who you will bring to the ARD meeting.

___ Decide if you want to meet with the teacher(s), diagnostician or related services provider

before the ARD meeting.

___ If you want to record the ARD meeting, gather the equipment.

 

 

Resources:

 

IDEA_logo-color72dpi_website.jpgIDEA, The Manual for Parents and Students about Special Education Services in Texas, 2012 is an invaluable resource for families trying to understand the Texas special education system and is available in both English and Spanish online. The manual can be downloaded and used by anyone, at The Arc of Texas or Disability Rights Texas Websites below:

www.thearcoftexas.org

www.disabilityrightstx.org

 

Additional Resources:

www.texasprojectfirst.org

www.partnerstx.org

www.txp2p.org

www.tea.state.tx.us/special.ed