School is currently physically closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, but what’s happening to your child’s IEP right now? Well, that’s going to look different for every child. But you can use these tips to talk to the teacher about your child’s IEP during the pandemic.
How to Talk to the Teacher About Your Child’s IEP During the Pandemic
Right off the top, let’s remember that IEPs are federally backed legal documents that guide education for one individual child.
Learn more about IEPs and 504 Plans
During the current pandemic, your child’s IEP is going to look and be different simply because it’s not safe or realistic for certain services or supports to happen. We’re talking about things that require hands-on manipulation or interaction, like a 1:1 aide for the whole day.
Which means that everyone involved, parents and teachers, are going to need to be flexible and give each other a ton of grace.
Start the Conversation About Services & Supports
An important first step is to communicate with your child’s teachers, case manager, and principal. Ask what the plan is for IEPs generally and for your child specifically. Tell them that you’d like to meeting virtually to hash things out and figure out a plan that make sense for everyone.
This opens the door to figuring things out together. Here’s why it works: it put everyone on the same team – Team Child. Phrasing your opening email this way helps everyone to feel supported and seen. And, most importantly, it signals that you’re willing to be flexible right now.
Learn how to talk to the teacher about your child’s IEP with a Pick My Brain Session with Meg!
Be firm about having a virtual meeting. Do not accept any unilateral decisions made by the school. You have the right to be part of the conversation and one of the decision-makers.
At Your Virtual IEP Meeting – Pandemic Style
Prior to the meeting, figure out what makes the most sense for you and your family right now. What does your child truly need from the school staff? What can your family provide?
For a lot of kids, I’m seeing requests for:
- modified work and assignments
- extended deadlines
- options for alternate assignments
- options for offline learning
- virtual service or support consults
- virtual service or support sessions
- pre-recorded video lessons
- live zoom lessons
These options aren’t going to work for some services that require a provider to be right there with your child. But for a lot of kids, that list of distance learning accommodations and modifications will work.
It’s up to you to decide what you want to request.
Your meeting is going to be spent figuring out a schedule with the teachers, therapists, and other staff. Be firm about what you want and don’t want.
Don’t Forget This Important Step
At your meeting be very clear that you want your child’s IEP to go back to pre-pandemic everything once school resumes. Make sure that everyone involved agrees to that very important aspect.
In fact, get it in writing.
As you know, if it’s not in writing – it never happened!
Book a Pick My Brain Session with Meg to learn how to handle IEP negotiations right now!
Putting this clause into your child’s IEP – and backing it up in a written agreement – helps ensure continuity of services once our lives return to normal. Your child will drop right back into their normal schedule, services, and supports when school reopens.
Doing this will help providers to assess your child’s progress or regression. After they’ve done assessments and collected data, you can all meet again to negotiate a new plan.