Today we had classes about educational law and IEPs. We're parents to one of the oldest kids at JTC this session so we've attended more than our fair share of IEP meetings. IEPs can be really stressful, but they don't make me nervous the way they used to. Through the years I've met some great contacts and found some great resources to help and I've also found the courage to ask (nicely) for what I think Noah needs to get a FAPE. School districts can't read your mind, so if you don't ask then it's not going to happen. Here are a few of my favorite online resources:
Wrightslaw: This website is really great at explaining the federal laws and can be helpful when you want something that you KNOW your child needs but the school hasn't done before. Finding just the right bit of law that supports your request can mean the difference between an easy conversation and a long fight.
Virginia DOE: This website has a listing of all the SOLs by grade and subject which can be a big help in trying to come up with IEP goals. Under the special ed. section there are also guidelines for working with kids with various disabilities, which in my experience the school districts are not particularly familiar with. I imagine that other states also have similar websites.
I'm determined: I'm a big fan of this VA DOE initiative that teaches self-determination skills and gets kids involved in the IEP process at a young age.
Hands and Voices: This website is a great resource for families of deaf/hoh kids no matter what communication modality they choose. There are lots of great articles about everything from eligibility to mainstreaming and the "pop up IEP" can be really helpful if you're not getting the answers you want from your school district.
Speaking of Speech: For some reason I always struggle the most with coming up with speech goals for Noah. The IEP goal bank on this website isn't particularly navigable, but it is fairly exhaustive - just what I need.
DB Link: Anything and everything you need to know about deaf-blindness can either be found of this site or using the links contained on it. It's great for educating IEP team members who just don't grasp the implications of a dual sensory impairment.