Q:

My son, a sixth-grader, has learning difficulties. Last year he was tested, and the results showed that he has a learning disability. He was given an IEP. Now I just received notification that his annual meeting will be early next month. I want to know what I need to do to be prepared for the meeting. -- For Preparation

A:

Before the meeting, reread your son's Individual Education Plan (IEP) carefully, going over all the accommodations that he currently has. Think about how each accommodation has helped or not helped your son to function in school. This meeting is the time that changes can be made easily, as a new plan is being written. Plans can be changed at any time; however, it is not always easy to get the entire team together.

You also should read all the federal laws that protect your child's rights in order to know if his school is providing him with the help he is entitled to receive. You'll find this information on learning-disabilities organizations' websites.

Be sure to write out your list of questions or concerns that you want to address at the meeting and make sure every one has been addressed. Also, you are allowed to invite anyone who you feel is concerned about your son, including doctors or other family members, to participate in this meeting.

Take a notebook and write down everything that is discussed. You will typically get a hard copy of the new IEP before you leave the meeting, because you will be required to sign the document for it to take effect.