Saturday, May 1, 2010
I should of done this earlier, much earlier. My Advocate was from The ARC, which is an
organization that advocates for persons with disabilities. This woman was referred to me via a group support meeting that I belonged to of parents with kids of autism. If you would like the Advocates name, please email me privately, and I will give you her information. I just don't feel comfortable publishing it on-line with out her knowledge.
Originally I phoned her asking me if she would attend the annual IEP meeting. I explained our circumstances and she agreed she would consult with me first and then attend the meeting at the school with me. To her office I brought all of Jacobs paperwork in a HUGE binder.
I keep every e-mail and notes of telephone conversations with dates and times. I also keep a calendar of Jacobs daily behavior, if anything happened out of the ordinary with him, missed school days, etc. Also I have 2 HUGE 2 inch binders filled with copies of Jake's report cards, progress reports, school correspondence, IEP data, mental reports from physicians, test scores from is psychological exams, school meeting notes, and just about anything to do with Jake. It has been extremely helpful that all of this information is together, and within some organizational order.
The Advocate told me how to prepare for our IEP and I had a lot of work to do. Since I wanted Jacob to switch school districts and attend the school for autism she wanted to me write a formal request letter to the head of the districts special education office. The advocate helped me significantly with the proper wording I should use, and also told me that I should request in my letter a date in which I would like a response. Also I was to type out a list of Jacobs issues, a parent letter of input, (to attached to the IEP). Included in the input letter should include what where Jacob was and where he is now, academically and emotionally, what I want for Jacob and why. I also needed to type out who is Jacob and his likes and interests and what I see for his future. One more thing that I needed to work on was a list of accommodations that I would like implemented, a wish list of sorts.
After our meeting I felt better, as though I was armed. I was still very nervous. She would tell me what the school could and couldn't do, the best way to approach them. My only goal was to get the support Jacob was entitled to from the schools.