IDEA. IEP. What Do Those Letters Mean to Me???

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Families as Allies brings together many different families across geographic regions, political persuasions and all kinds of demographics.  But one thing that unites almost all of us is knowing all too well that heart-stopping moment when we see the school’s, sometimes even the preschool’s, number pop up on our phones.  Dreaded questions immediately arise. What now? Are they going to tell me to come pick up my child? Do I even want to answer? What do I say if I do?

SCHOOL ISSUES AND SPECIAL EDUCATION

School issues, often related to special education, are by far the most common reason families contact us. That pattern is consistent with calls to family-run organizations across the country.

Our mission at Families as Allies is to make sure families are partners in their children’s care. By that, we mean that services and supports should be family-driven. Family-driven means “families have a primary decision making role in the care of their own children as well as the policies and procedures governing care for all children in their community, state, tribe, territory and nation.”

Feeling that you have a primary role in the care of your own child can feel like the furthest thing from reality in the midst of conflicts with the school. It helps to think about these three things: 1) You know your child better than anyone, 2) You care more about your child than anyone, and 3) The law is on your side.

SpecialEdbw.jpgThe federal law governing Special Education, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), can feel overwhelming to understand. Keep in mind that you don’t have to know everything about IDEA to use it for your child’s benefit. Also remember that IDEA and other civil rights laws are about how systems should respond to your child – not about how you or your child should be for the system. 

The online site Understood.org offers a wealth of information about learning and attention
issues that is helpful across disabilities. They recently published an advocacy toolkit based
on the Supreme Court’s landmark Endrew F. decision with step by step instructions on how
to use language from that decision to help your child have the most helpful Individual Education Plan (IEP). 

I strongly encourage you to look through the toolkit if you are having challenges with your child’s IEP. Understood.org also provides a helpful overview of the Endrew F. case here. As always, if we can support you in advocating for what you want for your child, please reach out to us. 

I’m also very interested in how all of you think Families as Allies can make our training about education and other issues as effective as possible, including the best ways to partner with our fellow family-run organizations like Mississippi Parent and Training Information Center  and Family Voices. We treasure them and want to maximize our opportunities together. Let me know your thoughts by emailing me at jhogge@faams.org or calling 601-355-0915. 

 


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Upcoming Events
Tuesday, July 24, 2018 at 07:30 AM
Families as Allies in Jackson, MS

Bring Your IEP Day

BRING YOUR IEP (AND YOUR QUESTIONS) DAY


Come to the Families as Allies office on Tuesday, July 24th with your IEP and your questions. Drop in anytime between 7:30 AM and 6 PM. You'll be able to visit with parents who have been in your shoes, and we will support you in finding answers.

JPS FAMILIES:

You will also have the opportunity to share feedback about ways to make JPS work better for all students and families if you would like. The feedback will be shared with the Better Together Commission.

Saturday, July 28, 2018 at 10:00 AM
Word and Worship Church in Jackson, MS

Back to School Blast

Families as Allies is funded through generous donations, training fees, grants from the Substance Abuse and Mental Heath Services Administration, the City of Jackson and the Department of Mental Health, and contracts with other non-profits and agencies.