A Letter to Parents with Children On IEPs

We understand that many of you have questions as schools release plans for the fall. With the stress and uncertainty of the future, it can be difficult to process your options.

We wanted to say first and foremost – an IEP is individualized and that you are a part of your child’s IEP team. This means that you can have an impact on what your child’s school year looks like. We have below some steps that you can take before the school year starts to help your child have more success in whatever this year brings.

This fall is an opportunity to get creative, think outside the box, and really put the “I” in the individual education plan when it comes to making decisions about how students are educated this fall and beyond. It is also going to require continued communication, and yes – a certain amount of grace and good faith that all parties are trying their best to do what they can with the options available to them.

Chapters of The Arc in Colorado collaborated to create a tool you can use to evaluate your return to school options and questions to ask if you have concerns. You can view the return to school evaluation tool at our COVID-19 Resource Page (hyperlink – opens in new window).

Now more than ever we are going to have to strive for collaboration between advocates, parents and caregivers, teachers, service providers, and support staff to come up with creative solutions to meeting student’s individual needs this semester, without subjecting any party to a level of risk that makes them uncomfortable.

Patrick Hackney, JD, Executive Director
Jessica Shouse, Director of Advocacy
Melissa Welch, PhD, Youth Advocate

Tips to get your child’s IEP ready:

1. Start with a review of your child’s IEP – including the goals and supports.

2. Ask yourself, “What goals weren’t met and what services were missed” during remote learning. If you spent time supporting your child, if your child couldn’t complete worksheets on their own, or if your child struggled to follow along with virtual instruction – let the rest of the IEP team know. You are a VITAL part of the IEP team. Your insights into how your child handled remote learning during the spring is valuable.

3. Talk with the IEP team – what does your child need to succeed during the next school year? If your child is struggling with the change, please talk to their IEP team about how you can support their mental health. If your child is struggling to wear a mask or understand social distancing, let the rest of the IEP team know. You can view social stories about coronavirus here (hyperlink – opens in new window).

4. Please be aware that what learning looks like is likely to change, and remote learning is likely, depending on how case counts in Larimer County progress. If this happens, what plans do the rest of the IEP team members have for your child?

5. Feeling overwhelmed? Ask for help. Please remember that The Arc of Larimer County can provide an advocate at no-cost for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This is a broad umbrella term that covers many students on IEPs including autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, etc. You can submit a request for an advocate here (hyperlink opens in a new window). While our offices are closed to the public, our staff are conducting meetings virtually and can discuss potential alternatives is virtual meetings are not possible.

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