Preschool IEP advice

I have a 4yr Old with speech and language delay and recently signed an IEP for the first time. We are getting 30min sessions, twice a week. I am new to the world of SpEd and was taken aback when I started looking for more resources/info and saw how many people cautioning parents before signing an IEP; and I just blindly and trustingly signed ours. Now I’m wondering what I missed and what I shouldn’t have agreed to. I have checked out the DREDF website, but there is so much information, I’m a little overwhelmed. I would appreciate some advice from other parents for now and for the future as well. If I don’t think my current IEP is working, can I have it reassessed? Oh and if anyone knows of a parent group geared toward kids w speech delays, I would appreciate the referral, as well.

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RE: Preschool IEP advice ()

Hello! I would caution you from doing too much internet research on this as I find many people go the extreme in their suspicions about the IEP documents and feeling like the school district is somehow trying to pull one over on you. The vast majority of the time, the service providers are great and also have the same goal as you....supporting your child. There is so much mistrust of the school district services and I feel it is detrimental to the relationships the service providers have with families. Treat it the same as you would a medical provider. Go in with an open mind, stay involved and if things feel like they are not working out, work with them to make it better. Unless you feel the goals and services were not appropriate, signing the document is not a problem. The IEP is a "living document" and can be adjusted as needed. Your child should receive progress reports on their goals and if they are not making progress, an IEP can be called to make adjustments.  You should have received a document called "procedural safeguards" which outlines the process and your rights as a parent. I definitely recommend reading it so you know more about the process and what to do if you disagree. If you have any concerns, you can request an IEP any time and they need to hold it within 30 days. Feel free to reach out if you have more questions. 

RE: Preschool IEP advice ()

I am a parent of a 15 year old who has had an IEP since age 7. I would have done it sooner had I known my options, so you are already ahead. The great thing about an IEP is that parents are allowed to call an IEP meeting at any time. Parents are an integral vital part of the IEP team A lot of what is helpful is information gathering and assessments of your child. You can see how it goes and if what is in the IEP proves to be helpful, then you can focus on making sure the written goals are constructive and measurable. Please feel free to contact me, I am all for helping out fellow parents so they don't have to reinvent the wheel. I have a lot of experience and would welcome the chance to share it.

RE: Preschool IEP advice ()

Call DREDF, they will do free phone consultations and it is much easier than trying to sift through the information on the website. It was several years ago when I consulted them but they were incredibly helpful in cutting right through to the core issues and giving me very specific advice, down to the words to use when talking to the school district.

RE: Preschool IEP advice ()

Getting the IEP is a good step! You’ll have a chance to tweak it as there will be re-evals. Just don’t let them drop services too quickly. And if you disagree with findings, you can get another eval done by someone of your choice-paid by the school district. All is not lost. Just prepare for the re-eval.

RE: Preschool IEP advice ()

First that you have an IEP already at this age is wonderful and speaks to your ability to advocate for your child. An IEP can be changed so don’t panic. You can call DREDF and speak with a counselor. They can review the IEP and give you feedback and advice. They are amazing! if necessary you can request another meeting and they have 30 days to set it and then you can ask for changes. You can also bring an advocate of your choosing who can be a professional, a teacher, a medical provider, or even a friend.  

RE: Preschool IEP advice ()

I've gone through IEPs at two school districts:  Berkeley and Oakland.  The assessment teams in both were great.  I didn't doubt their recommendations, but that's because I've also had assessments from our health plan, Kaiser.  If you have insurance, go to your kid's doctor and ask for three referrals:  to a developmental specialist (at the time I asked Kaiser only had one in SF), speech therapist (they had those in Oakland) and to get a hearing test.  My kid turned out to have a light hearing issue, as well as a neurological issue that prevented him from using his mouth properly.  You can tell them the school district provided an assessment and recommends speech therapy, but do not share the actual documents from the assessment - no matter what the doctors and therapists promise, in my experience they get lazy and end up copying what they get from others instead of writing up their own.

A developmental specialist can assess the speech delay as any other issues that may accompany it, and then you can go back to the school district, share the findings and ask them about things they might have missed.  A separate speech therapy eval will give you a focused assessment for speech, and you can compare that to what the district decided.  This way, you'll get a full picture of your child's development.  In my experience, the school district teams were better and more practical (i.e., had a clear plan to address) assessments along with the recommendations.  

School districts have little money, but they tend to be fair to the kids.  The speech therapists my son worked with were truly amazing, and half an hour of therapy is all they can handle in one sitting at that age. I'm no doctor, but twice a week sounds good.  In my case, I hired a private speech therapist once the school district's wasn't available.

Good luck!  And take care.