Contributed by PWSA | USA’s Director of Family Support Stacy Ward, MS
As a parent, you know your child best and your input into the development of their Individual Education Program (IEP) is crucial. In addition to actively participating in discussions, goal development, and progress monitoring, creating a parent input statement that is incorporated into the IEP is a way for you to document your child’s strengths and challenges, both at home and as you see them in school.
I encourage you to pull out your child’s current IEP and review the parent concerns section. Is it written in your words or is it a summary of what the case manager interpreted as your concerns and input during the meeting? Does it accurately reflect what you feel the team needs to know about your child? If not, I encourage you to rewrite the statement and email it to the team requesting the IEP be amended to include the statement.
As you create your statement, ask yourself the following questions:
- What are my child’s interests and preferences?
- What does the school need to know about PWS to safely and effectively support my child?
- What do I see as my child’s functional and academic strengths?
- Do the current goals support my child’s functional and academic needs long term? If not, what do they need to meet their long-term functional and academic goals?
- How do I best communicate with my child?
- Do the current goals support my child’s sensory and self-regulation needs? If not, what do they need to be supported during challenging moments?
Although the parent input / concerns section should not be a place to track your complaints with the school, it is a place you should document requests you have made that were denied i.e., 1:1 paraprofessional or PWS specific training. In addition to noting your request was denied, include in your statement how your child would benefit both academically and functionally if those requests had been granted.
Keep your statement factual, polite, and professional. Each time you meet as an IEP team, review your statement to ensure it is accurate and if further revisions need to be made.
To receive assistance writing your parent input statement, contact the Family Support team at firstname.lastname@example.org or 941.312.0400.