First Tip: Which I believe most people have this covered already or it is in the process of having it covered is to…request a visit from your school district to observe your child at their current school—This directly applies to CPSE
Second Tip: Once they have visited, the majority of the time you will get feedback from your child’s teacher. However, there are times when the district representative doesn’t share much information with the school. Therefore you should contact your district and ask for a copy of their notes/observations. From that you can get a sense of their thoughts around your child’s performance.
Third Tip: Send a letter to your district representative highlighting that you want to ensure that your child is placed in the least restrictive environment with the appropriate support and you would like to have information on the services and classroom types they have available. This is really important if you have not had a meeting with the district title “transitioning to kindergarten”—This is more linked to the transition from CPSE to CSE stage.
Note: at this time you should request a visit to each of these settings. The district does have the right to deny your request at this point. However, if that does occur follow tip 7.
Fourth Tip: Once evaluations are complete ensure you have seen them/copies at least 5 days prior to your meeting. Especially if your district is doing the actual evaluations.
Fifth Tip: If you have any records, evaluations, an evaluation with a diagnosis, etc. you should also provide copies to the district at least 5 days prior to your meeting. They should completely knowledgeable on your child so they can help you make the best decisions. The majority of the time the committee already has a sense of placement prior to going into your meeting. So, it is really important for them to have the whole picture.
Sixth Tip: Bring an advocate for your child—teacher, grandparent, therapist, etc. For two reasons, to help provide information about your child and if they wouldn’t mind helping to record the feedback from the committee this way you can focus and process the recommendations. And, don’t forget any notes you have taken…another side tip. You should record any behaviors during vacations, breaks, etc. This will help paint the picture of how your child is when they are not in school
Seventh Tip: Bring with you a written request to see the individual classroom settings (self contained, mainstream/general, integrated/inclusion). Even the ones they are not recommending for your child. This is especially important if you are still undecided as to which is the least restrictive. Remember, each district is different, each teacher is different, therefore each class is different. A 12:1:1 in one district can be completely different from another district…and so on. If they don’t have a particular type of class that you are interested in…for example integrated/inclusion. You need to include in the letter that you want to see their recommendation for the “out of district” inclusion/integrated class.
Eighth Tip: Meeting is underway and hopefully…everything runs smoothly. But, if it doesn’t you know what to do. Say you would like to table the meeting and go home and think about it. Also, if you do disagree with their recommendations you will not want to leave the meeting without copies of the support that led them to their decisions. This is really important so you fully understand their thoughts. Once you have thought about their comments and recommendations you will want to call back the district to reschedule a meeting. At that point you will need to prepare your rebuttal and have proper support to back your decision. Note: It is hard to provide tips beyond this point because the situations can be so different however if you decide not to call Long Island Advocacy until this point. I would call to get their guidance to help you move the process along.
Here are some great sites she recommended that I will be checking out. I will write about them over the next week. Good Luck!