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The Special Ed Advocate

Five Rules for Incredibly Successful IEP Meetings During the COVID-19 Pandemic
by Pamela Wright, Wrightslaw.com

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Good Wednesday morning. Today's issue is a 3 minute read (713 words).

As schools attempt to re-open safely, districts are dealing with challenges related to COVID-19 school closures last spring. Experts worry that many students will miss academic milestones, fall behind grade level, and drop out of school permanently. This dismal outcome is more likely for children with disabilities.

You need to be extra vigilant about protecting your child's rights during this difficult time. Most kids with special education needs regressed and lost skills during the seven months schools were closed. But some district admins spent their summer devising ways to avoid providing compensatory education services to their students with special needs.

What have districts been up to? School districts are . . .

  • complaining that any requirement that they provide compensatory ed is unfair because the regression and loss of skills is not their fault;

  • creating a new category of education services, "recovery services";

  • allowing IEP teams to amend IEPs without notifying the child's parent;

  • advising parents that their child did not "qualify" for comp ed because s/he did not regress or lose skills ... with no evaluations or progress monitoring of skills to back up this claim; and

  • reducing special ed and related services based "administrative needs."

In this issue of The Special Ed Advocate, we answer questions and provide strategies, including . . .

  • Five Rules for Incredibly Successful IEP Meetings During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • Wrightslaw Training Programs Resume with Live and Zoom Events - USAF, CO, GA, UT

  • What We Know about Kids' View of Online Ed: "It's Awful!"

  • More COVID-19 Resources

We need to learn something new today so let's get started.

1. Five Rules for Incredibly Successful IEP Meetings During the COVID-19 Pandemic

"I told the team that I was worried about Joachin's loss of skills since his school closed in March. The chairman said, 'What do you want us to do?' Don't they know what to do?

"Why did they ask me that question? I'm not a teacher. I'm just a parent. I think they wanted to make me feel stupid."
- Marie at a parent training session.

calm woman learning about IEP meetings

Did the team intend to make Marie feel stupid? We don't know. Was the school's request unreasonable? No.

When you receive that call, letter, or email inviting you to an IEP meeting, how do YOU respond?

Do you get a knot in your stomach? Do you feel anxious, confused or inadequate (the "I'm just a parent" syndrome)?

If you are like so many parents, you don't realize you have an essential role in developing your child's IEP.

Isn't it time you have a clear sense of your role and what you have to offer at your child's IEP meetings?

In Five Rules for Incredibly Successful IEP Meetings During COVID-19, we answer questions about the parent's role, how to negotiate with the IEP team, and share the five rules for incredibly successful IEP meetings.

Note: The second article in this series, "Preparing for IEP Meetings During the COVID-19 Pandemic," will be featured in the next issue of The Special Ed Advocate.

2. Breaking News! Wrightslaw Training Programs Resume with Live and Zoom Events - USAF, CO, GA, UT

Coronavirus Update: Several Wrightslaw programs were rescheduled in the Spring. New dates are below. If you don't see a date for a rescheduled program, check back for updated info. We are also scheduling new programs.

September 21, 23, and 25, 2020: Worldwide - USAF Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) staff training. Closed to the public. Speaker: Pete Wright. New Zoom Event.

October 11, 2020: Denver, CO - Special Education Law and Advocacy Training sponsored by Every Child Reading. Speaker: Pete Wright. New Zoom event, attendance will be capped at 100.

November 4, 2020: Decatur, GA - Special Education Law and Advocacy Training sponsored by the Georgia Legal Services Program. Speaker: Pete Wright. (new location)

November 10, 2020: Park City, UT - Special Education Law and Advocacy Training sponsored by Park City READS. Speaker: Pete Wright. Zoom Event. (new date)

3. What We Know about Kids' Views of Online Ed: "It's Awful!"

Parents want their kids back in school. Most kids want to return to school too -- but they don't trust their schools to take precautions to keep them safe.

A new poll released by Common Sense/SurveyMonkey suggests that most teens are taking the coronavirus more seriously than many adults.

Take a quick look at What We Know about Kids' View of Online Ed


4. More COVID-19 Resources from Wrightslaw

Worried about Regression? Is it Time to Consider a Different Plan for Your Child's Education?

Why Can't I Trust the School to Do What's Right for My Child?" - How to Manage Parent-School Disputes During the COVID-19 Pandemic

How to Use Teletherapy for Therapy and Related Services During COVID-19

Special Education & COVID-19 Guide published by the Legal Aid Justice Center (pdf, 3 pages) - Excellent Qs and As about how to prepare for an IEP meeting as school reopens, what to request if your child with an IEP is participating in virtual education, what you can request if you are educating your child at home, and how to get additional help after your child fell behind while schools were closed.


Revised: 09/23/20

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