I was recently invited to speak at a national convention devoted to the care of children with a very rare metabolic disorder, but at the convention, a neuropsychologist from Denver, Colorado, Dr. Kendra Bjoraker, offered a series of tips to help parents in meetings with school officials.
These tips each were so insightful, so helpful, I wanted to make them available to you all. Each really help put you, the parent, in a better position to get the best educational plan for your child possible.
Keep in mind, these tips were designed for meetings with officials who have the power and authority to decide what help your family and your child will receive from their school. As such these tips could be helpful for any such meeting, school or otherwise.
Your overall goal is to get the organization to help you and your child
- Be sure to sit next to the most senior decision-maker at the meeting.
- Dress formally, make sure you look like you take their time seriously
- Bring food, fruit or cookies, it is harder to say no to someone who feeds you.
- Print the Rules and Regulations of the State of Ohio on the subject you are discussing, for example, IEP services, and place them in a binder with the title Rules and Regulations of the State of Ohio on the spine of the binder. Place the binder with the spine facing towards meeting participants.
- If an administrator states that the law forbids or does not allow them to help you in the way you request, ask them to point to the statute, in your binder.
- Take notes.
- Before you leave, insist on getting copy of the administrator’s notes. Often promises made at the meeting don’t make it into the final report.
- Tape record the meeting and leave it on as everyone is saying their goodbyes. Often promise are made as a friendly parting gesture.
- Be sure to go after the problem, not the people. The challenge is to get help, not to go after individuals. If you are getting angry at someone, the focus is off center.