We’ve been posting about using time this summer to review your child’s records and organize his special education file. Have you started yet?
Here are 14 tips for reviewing your child’s record from Pat Howey.
1. Send a request letter to inspect and review your child’s records.
2. Specify all files in the letter, whether or not you believe these records exist.
3. Send this letter to all pre-schools and schools your child attended.
4. Send a second letter to the government agency that provides special education, i.e., Special Ed Cooperatives, Joint Services and Supply.
5. Give the school/agency two or three different dates and times you can be available to review the record.
6. If you do not receive a response within a week, send a follow-up letter, attaching a copy of the original letter.
7. When you go in to review your child’s records, take a number of pads of the smallest size sticky notes with you.
8. With a sticky note, tag every sheet of paper or note that you either have never seen before or that you are certain you do not already have a copy of.
9. Make a note of missing items. If any records are missing, write a note, indicating what you believe is missing.
You have not been provided with all the records if,
- you have written notes to the school and they are not in any of the records
- the testing protocols (actual testing instruments) are not in the records
- your child has had adaptive physical education, physical, occupational, or speech therapy, and the daily progress notes are not in any of the records
10. When you are finished, count the sticky notes. Make a note of the number of pages you can expect.
11. Return the files with a note that requests copies of all items that are tagged with sticky notes.
12. Reminder: Absent state law or local policy, you are not automatically entitled to copies of your child’s records, except under specific circumstances. You may be charged a fee for the copies.
13. When you return to pick up the copies of your child’s records, note the number of copies. If the number varies from what you expect, leave a note stating that you did not receive all requested copies.
14. Sign and date each piece of correspondence you give to the keeper of the records. Always keep a copy for your own records.
Indiana Advocate Pat Howey, a member of the Wrightslaw Speakers Bureau, provides training for parents, educators, and others who want to ensure that children receive quality special education services. Pat provides tips for parents and advocates answers your questions in Ask the Advocate.