What to do if you have to file for Mediation or Due Process
First of all, if you missed the IEP tips part one, you can find them right here. Second, these tips were formulated by Dr. Linda Brake who worked in the school district that Kennedy was in last year and actually sat across the table from us at mediation. Who better to ask, right? She put together some great points if you are heading into mediation and/or Due Process... and I might add some of my own thoughts below that. ;)
This comic always makes me laugh. I was totally "Annie's mom" before Kennedy started school. I know many parents out there who get slapped with reality after their child starts school, but the nationwide survey that we put out there shows that most people are happy with their IEP teams, so take heart! I'll publish those results as well in the coming days. OK onto the tips:
- Know and understand your parental rights under IDEA.
- Remain Calm and Professional to Boost Credibility
- Have evidence to prove your allegations
- Be Clear in What You're Asking For
- As soon as you file for Due Process, request a copy of your child's records.
- Understand 'Stay Put'
- If Mediation is selected, be sure you are willing to compromise.
- Be Prepared
- Communicate Effectively
- Be sure you understand everything at the time it is being said
- If at all possible, get a lawyer! The school district will be sure to have one, you should too!
I also want to recommend these books again. I know I've done it before, but I guess it can't be said enough...
From Emotions to Advocacy - The Special Education Survival Guide, 2nd Edition
by Pam Wright and Pete Wright was published in January 2006 (ISBN: 978-1-892320-09-4, 338 pages, perfect bound, $19.95).
"If I were asked to choose just one book to help me learn advocacy skills, this is it!" - Support for Families of Children with Disabilities
"A superb reference, From Emotions To Advocacy is highly recommended reading for parents of children in need of special education services ... it's filled with tips, techniques and a wealth of resources, from web sites to worksheets, forms, and sample letters …" Midwest Book Review
All About IEPs - Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About IEPs
(ISBN: 978-1-892320-20-9) by Pete Wright, Pam Wright, and Sue O'Connor, 192 pages, $12.95.
In this comprehensive, easy-to-read book, you will find clear, concise answers to frequently asked questions about IEPs. Learn what the law says about:
IEP Teams and IEP Meetings
Parental Rights & Consent
Steps in Developing the IEP
Placement, Transition, Assistive Technology
Strategies to Resolve Disagreements
And that's it! (I know, you're saying, "Thank goodness she's done talking!" HA!) Again, I hope these tips were helpful if you DO have to go to Mediation and/or Due Process. Linda said that looking in from the other side of our whole process, this comic best described me:
Hopefully there will never be another "next time", but if there IS, I'll be more prepared! Experience is a good teacher!