May 14 , 2011
by Susan Schaefer
Don't be afraid to speak up. A primer for your first, or next, PPT.
You have just walked through the door of your first PPT meeting and are greeted by a conference table populated by what seems like every school employee, including the lunch ladies and maintenance staff. So, what is the best way to prepare for this anxiety producing experience?
Unfortunately, you really learn what your child needs by trial and error unless you have an advocate or are well versed in special education services. You are in a tough spot, all wide-eyed and innocent, then wham! In come the flying monkeys.
Here are some facts to help you get through your first, or next, PPT:
- The PPT team consists of a lot of school personnel who have either evaluated or will provide services for your child. It is usually led by a department head from Pupil Services. You are part of the team, as is your child, and you can request a PPT at any time. At the end of the school year, there is always an annual review.
- The school psychologist will go over testing results, if appropriate, and everyone else will give anecdotal reports on your child’s progress. You may, and should, stop them at any time to ask questions.
- Every student with a diagnosed learning disability has an Individual Education Plan (IEP). It is loaded with information and is overwhelming even for an experienced parent.
- You will be asked to share any concerns you have regarding your child, and I strongly suggest you don’t hold back. But know this – they record absolutely everything you say. This is how, “The mom reports he is odd,” became a part of my son’s IEP.
- The psychologist will go over your child’s proposed IEP. You probably wouldn’t know it’s not final by the way it is presented, but now you do.
- Basically, the IEP lists your child’s strengths and weaknesses, academic goals, services that will be provided and who will provide them, accommodations and modifications, and a ton of other information. Read it cover to cover.
- The section on accommodations and modifications, which lists the services the school will provide, is where there is often disagreement. The school makes recommendations which may or may not be in line with what a parent thinks the child should receive.
- The IEP is a legal document, and all services and accommodations listed must be provided. If it’s in the IEP it must be done, and that’s my final answer.
It has been my personal experience that West Hartford tries to do everything they can to help a student succeed. Yes, students fall through the cracks from time to time, but they really have the student’s best interest at heart. For further information on your rights and the IEP, go to: www.wrightslaw.com.
"PPT Meeting: What to Expect?" West Hartford Patch.com