After 15 years of IEPs, one of the most valuable weapons I have had in my arsenal when getting services from the school district is having a good grasp of the language that therapists use (Psych, Speech, OT). Rather than allow them to control the meeting by going line item, by line item on IEP goals, I immediately address the specific needs of my child that need to be addressed.

I direct my questions to and open dialogue with the “expert” on hand that is relative to the areas that need to be addressed. When I do this, it disarms the district from any arguments they may have for cutting back on services. They quickly realize that I am a person who knows what they are talking about and not to be reckoned with. I bring the administrators out of their comfort zone and into a clinical-level discussion. 

The ultimate result is that I avoid toe-to-toe haggling. I get the entire room into a needs-based discussion. By not meeting the needs put forth and confirmed by the expert present, they will be in jeopardy of not being in compliant with FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education) regulations as required by law. They fear being found non-compliant with FAPE and I am quick to remind them of it.

Rather than addressing “this is why we can’t”, I gain the upper hand by keeping us focused on “how we are going to…”

If you don’t know FAPE, please research it. It is important that you know your child’s rights.

I welcome you to share your thoughts and experience on this.



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