Sunday, October 18, 2009

STEP Training - Support and Training for Exceptional Parents - Memphis Oral School - September 26, 2009

Today, Ryan and I came to a meeting hosted at the Memphis Oral School for the Deaf. This was a "STEP" meeting (Support and Training for Exceptional Parents). A consultant came to speak to the parents about being an advocate for your child. Many great resources were provided. Some of these include a parent manual and the Brown v. Board of Education document. Some of the suggestions or statements made at the meeting are listed below.

  • Anytime you ask for something or request something put it in writing.
  • Don't throw anything away.
  • Placement for your child can only be determined after the IEP meeting
  • Your best defense is research. It is up to you to do your research. Find good reputable research from places like Oxford, Yale, and Harvard. Teresa Schwartz from the Memphis Oral School has a lot of research that we can use.
  • Keep a binder of documentation. Tab it with different categories.
  • At your IEP meeting, look professional (taking food is always a good thing).
  • You should be given written prior notice of your IEP meeting. You can ask for a rough draft of your IEP so you can look at it before the meeting.
  • Make sure there is someone at the meeting in the LEA position
  • The IEP must occur at an agreed upon time and place (this is the law)
  • If you choose to record the IEP meeting you must tell the school ahead of time that you are going to do it.
  • You have the right to cancel the meeting at anytime.
  • There is a device that can go into your computer that will transcribe the meeting notes.
  • Always have more than you need at the meeting. Show that you are prepared.
  • At the IEP you will be asked to voice your parental concerns. This may include wanting your child to develop oral language and speech intelligibility and being on par with your language/speech with peers
  • If odd ball things come up, ask the school to show you their policy on that.
  • Always ask for more than you want so that there is room for compromise.
  • On the IEP look at the Criteria for Mastery. Look at the goal before you decide the mastery. Ex. is 80% or 90% of mastery ok? Sometimes 8 out of 10 times is ok for mastery, but sometimes it is not.
  • Always ask for a rough draft of your child's IEP b/c it saves time so questions and concerns can be answered before the meeting.
  • You can request an IEP meeting anytime. You must have it in writing. They must have a meeting with you within 10 days. Go ahead and put down some dates and times that will work with you in your letter.
  • You can ask for things for acoustic modification...for ex. tennis balls on all the chairs.
  • Always remember you don't want to modify so much that your child cannot function without the modifications if your child is doing well.
  • Remember the "I" part of an IEP. It means Individualized. This means what YOUR child needs. Each child works on a different level and has different needs at different times. Do not let the team tell you what they do for other children. We should be talking about what is best for YOUR child.
  • Although this meeting was in Tennessee, you can go to and look at the other state agencies.
  • In your notebook keep everything...examples are: IEP/IFSP, progress notes, speech reports, evaluations, request of medical records, other services provided.
  • In your IEP, make them distinguish between individual or group therapy.
  • You do not have to sign the IEP for 14 days (ex. if your husband is not there and you want to show it to him). Services will not start until the signature is on there though.
  • Get a case manager from your insurance company. You may need them when you are looking at things that will need to be paid for in the future.

Again, this was a great meeting to start thinking about some things that we will be dealing with very soon. We have gone through the IFSP process and we will be going through the IEP process once she turns 3 years old. I am impressed with the services that Tennessee has had to offer for parents. It was a very informative meeting.


  1. Can you please specify what exactly the law says about "You have the right to cancel the meeting at anytime." ? I would like to use this to my advantage at my son's IEP, but can find no reference to it online.

    Thanks much.

  2. You have a right to be notified in advance and to change the date if necessary. Because you are part of the team, it is important that this works with your schedule. It is also important that you give some on your end as well. The point above is that the team cannot call a meeting without you being able to come.