Parental Input on the IEP

Don't miss the chance to have your say

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There's a spot for the teacher's input. The social worker's input. The psychologist's input. Input from the speech therapist, physical therapist, occupational therapist. But did you know there's also a space on your child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) for the parent's input? If yours has been left blank, you might have missed it among all the other educational mumbo-jumbo. But it's there as a place to put your two cents, and who wouldn't want an opportunity to do that?

Often, this space may be filled in by your case manager based on statements you made at the IEP meeting. If that truly reflects your opinions and input, then that's fine. But if there have been misconceptions, or you would like to make specific suggestions or put your disagreements on the record, try writing up your input yourself and asking for it to be entered there. You'll want to make the language polite and professional, and in keeping with a legal document. Consider carefully what you want those carrying out this plan to know, and how you want them to think of you and your family.

I've used the Parent Input section in the past to give official recognition to informal agreements I've made with teachers and administrators. For example, my son was getting into trouble in the bathrooms when they were crowded with kids having lunch. The school nurse suggested that he use her bathroom at those times, and it worked out well.

Next IEP time, we put that suggestion in my Parental Input, and it stayed there as he moved up to the next school. I've also used it to suggest academic or behavioral tactics to be used at the teacher's discretion.

This year, as my son moves up again, to the high school, I'm thinking a lot about what I want his teachers to know about him right off the bat.

With the increased emphasis on independence at this age, I'd like them to understand that while independence may be an eventual goal for my son, it's not an immediate goal, and not just 'cause I'm a smother mother. My Parental Input statement this year is going to read something like this:

A. is a very friendly and verbal teen, and may appear to be more mature and capable than he is. Due to his Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, he will sometimes be unable to make good decisions or show self control, especially under stress. Because of this, it is recommended that individuals with FASD should have constant supervision through the teen years and beyond. I believe there are ways to give A. the feeling of independence while still maintaining an appropriate degree of watchfulness, and I hope his teachers and I can work together so that A. can continue to have a happy and safe school experience.
Do you have a bee in your bonnet, a particular concern or recommendation or objection? Make use of that Parental Input space. You've got a unique view of your child, and without it, the overall picture will never be complete.

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