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When the School Ignores Your Requests for Help
by Pat Howey

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"I have asked and asked the school to give my child extra help. The school never does anything."

First, if you did not ask for help in writing, you have no proof that you ever asked for help.

You need to learn how to make requests of the school in writing (read Chapters 22, 23 and 24 about letter writing and paper trails in From Emotions to Advocacy.)

The Parent Report

I recommend that parents always prepare for IEP meetings by writing a report to give to the IEP team members.

First, write a list of your child’s strengths. Here are some examples:


* Johnny is competitive
* Johnny loves to play basketball
* Being allowed to play basketball makes Johnny want to do better in school
* Johnny gets up every morning to practice basketball.

Next, make a list of things that are difficult for your child. Here are some examples:


* Johnny struggles in reading, science, and math
* Johnny and I work up to 3 hours a night on reading, science and math homework
* Johnny receives tutoring which we pay for in reading, science and math
* Johnny often gets D’s and F’s in reading, science and math
* Johnny is not allowed to be on the school’s sports teams because of his poor grades.

Next, make a list of what your child needs from the school. Look at your lists of strengths and challenges. Make your list of needs fit the strengths and challenges. Here are some examples:


* Johnny needs special help in reading, science and English
* Johnny needs to have his grades take into consideration his effort
* Johnny needs to be allowed to play on school sports teams so he will be motivated to do well in school -- and not drop out

Write only what is most important. Your goal is to get the IEP team to focus on the important areas. You can also write goals in your report.

Make enough copies of your report so everyone who attends the IEP meeting has a copy. After you think you've made enough copies, make a few more. You want to be sure you have enough copies of your report to go around.

Read the tips about how to prepare for meetings, how to use a Parent Agenda and an IEP Meeting Worksheet in From Emotions to Advocacy (Chapters 25 and 26).

Read more Ask the Advocate articles by Pat Howey.

Meet Pat Howey

Pat HoweyPat Howey is an advocate who has helped parents obtain special education services and resolve special education disputes. Read more of Pat's answers to questions submitted by people just like you in Ask the Advocate.

As a member of the Wrightslaw Speakers Bureau, Pat provides training for parents, educators, and others who want to ensure that children receive quality special education services.

"Changing the World -- One Child at at Time."

Contact Information
Pat Howey
Special Education Consulting
POB 117
West Point, Indiana 47992-0117
Website: patriciahowey.com
Email: specialedconsulting@gmail.com

Revised: 03/22/12

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