IEP Meeting: AIDES NOT ALLOWED AT IEP REVIEW, IS THERE A LAW?

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Sarah:  We are having an issue with admin forbidding paraprofessionals from attending meetings.  Is there a law that says we can invite them and have them participate? Thank you

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Flora

Has anyone heard Aid supervisors do not have to attend IEP meetings?

Sherry

My question is much the same, but there was an incident at school with an emotional disturbed student. The PCA and the para was there. Parents are requesting they be allowed to meet with them so they are able to better understand the incident, allowing outside therapists to know and understand the dynamics of the situation better.

Emily

From what I understand, parents can invite someone with knowledge and/or expertise of their child, such as the student’s aid, to an IEP meeting. That person does not have to attend. In my situation, I am a behavior tech with specialized training, education and expertise, so I get invited to IEP’s by our client. However, my supervisor, who is a BCBA, gives me the choice whether to attend or not. She has the data I collect everyday and asks me to tell her in advance (before the meeting) any observations I have that might help her discuss the data at the meeting. I prefer not to attend because my boss has all the answers. Sometimes, parents and teachers try to ask us (the aides) uncomfortable questions at IEP’s. It’s not in our job description to deal with that. I prefer to stay out of it.

Wrightslaw

Sarah, you’ve received good advice. Chuck & Joe explained that the law allows parents & schools to invite people who have special knowledge of the child. But it’s not that simple. As Chuck says, aides are employees of the district. If the district wants them to tend to their duties, they need to do so or risk losing their ob.

Morning comes at the problem from a different angle because she works as an aide. She knows that decisions about a child’s program are made by school admins and parents – not aides. Morning describes hidden factors that are present in every school – like the teacher who wanted the aide to inform parents of unpleasant news. On the other hand, an aide can be an excellent source of info.

My perspective is similar to Morning’s. IMO, teachers & aides have very little power in disputes about a child’s IEP. If you force an aide to attend a mtg, you put her in a position that won’t help you and may lead to a bad outcome for her. That isn’t fair to her.

charmaine

I worked for a district that allowed and even encouraged aides in the meetings and also a district that does not allow it. If the parents request the aide to attend I think the aide should go.Realistically, the aides are the ones that spend the most one on one time with the students.For a district to state that an aide not be able to attend because of their duties is plain ridiculous.I think that is a red flag that something is being hidden.I actually think if there is a particular aide that works with a particular student they should be there whether the parents requests it or not.My opinion is that districts are scared aides will say something they don’t want to be said.At the end of the day, aides are no nit wits that are ignorant….and if they are than they should not have been hired.

Morning

You are correct that school districts may have concerns of what information the aides may disclose in PPT meetings. For that reason alone, many paras will not risk their jobs in that way. Paras know when IEPS are not being followed and so much more. They don’t get paid much and many do not have the same strong union protection as teachers. The dynamics of special education, teacher stress, adverserial parents, due process, etc., are not worth for a low paying para to risk s job in a PPT meeting. Many paras learn to proceed with caution as teachers and administrators can turn against them for simply advocating for the students. Paras are part of the service team but many don’t want to go into PPT meetings. My advice to parents is to collaborate, communicate and know your rights.

Morning

Why should they attend? As a para who has worked across most grade levels, most paras refused to go into PPTs. Teachers/ parents and case managers should be communicating and working together. Paras should not be caught in the middle of such dynamics. Our hands are full. I had a teacher try to manipulate me to inform a parent that an IEP was not being followed. No way!! Those are the games that paras get caught between. It is a lot of work to take care of someone’s child (and some with major behavioral problems) and still have to sit in a PPT meeting. My focus was on the child and I expected the teachers/parents/ administrators to truly do their jobs and sort issues out and such without my time being in a PPT meeting. Paras know the games that some teachers play.

Emily

I fully support your argument. I feel the same way. Keep us out of the drama! Our focus should be the children and adults we work with. Let the data speak for us.

Chuck

IDEA rules allow a parent to invite anyone who has knowledge of their child. When the person works for the school, if the school says there is no way the person can attend because of their duties, there is no way I am aware of to get them there. Perhaps someone has the strategies for getting the person there.

Joe

https://www2.ed.gov/parents/needs/speced/iepguide/index.html?exp=0

The IEP team may also include additional individuals with knowledge or special expertise about the child. The parent or the school system can invite these individuals to participate on the team. Parents, for example, may invite an advocate who knows the child, a professional with special expertise about the child and his or her disability, or others (such as a vocational educator who has been working with the child) who can talk about the child’s strengths and/or needs. The school system may invite one or more individuals who can offer special expertise or knowledge about the child, such as a paraprofessional or related services professional.

You may include individuals with specific knowledge of the child.

Elsida

Are educational aides allowed to look, read, or file IEPS