Welcome IEP Parents!

I'm Tracie Kelly.

Author, The IEP Advantage Blog & The IEP Advantage Course & IEPadvantage.com

Welcome! I'm glad that you're here!  In these blog pages, I'll be sharing information on a wide variety of topics within the realm of IEP meeting prep & special education for our children.  Thanks for joining me!

What Every Parent Needs to Know About The IEP Document

Hello friends, Tracie Kelly here!

 Welcome to my Blog #3: What Every Parent Needs To Know About The IEP Document.

Hey there IEP Parent! Welcome!  I'm thrilled to kick off this blog series about Special Education and Individualized Education Programs (IEPs).  Eventually,  I'll dive deep into the IEP, IEP meeting prep and strategies in my future blogs, but first I thought we should start from the very beginning, talking about what an IEP is, so we all begin on the same (blog) page!

Chances are, if you have a child with special needs entering or already in the public school system, you've heard about IEPs. Maybe you've even attended one or several of those IEP meetings and found the meeting to be a bit overwhelming. If you're a parent that has had smooth sailing so far, you’re one of the lucky ones!

Ideally, in a perfect world, all IEP meetings would entail collaboration between parents and the school, ending with the child getting full support in all areas of need, and the child going on to have a wonderful school experience.  However, the reality is that many times misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the laws and regulations surround the IEP, as well as the individuals IEP knowledge and IEP training, or lack thereof (on both the school personnel and the parents), causes disagreements and challenges to ensue.

This is why I believe that parents need to have their own system to lead them through IEP meeting prep and learning all about the IEP document.  I not only just believe that parents need this support, I took it upon myself to to create an IEP meeting prep system for all parents in the USA.  My vision is that parents no longer have to feel confused, lost, alone, nervous, scared, uncertain, and intimidated at the IEP meeting. I transform parents into IEP Parents... that is, parents that are INFORMED |EMPOWERED | & PREPARED to confidently attend their IEP meetings and to be empowered to advocate for their child - through my online course called The IEP Advantage.  

See, the schools have had their IEP meeting systems in place for years.  When they see you come into the meeting, this isn't their first rodeo!  There have been many IEP parents before you, so they have experience. They are a team of professionals, that have money and power on their side.  They also have the support of a lawyer freely available at their call. 

However, we parents, on the other hand, show up (almost blind-sided) to these meetings.  We typically don't even know the that the IEP is a legal document.  We don't have an attorney available for free at any moment.  Heck, we don't know the what the IEP meeting is all about! We parents typically walk into the first IEP meeting, thinking it's just a formality to sign our kid up for special education.  We have no idea what we're in for! 

And do you know what the worse part is?
  The worse part is, schools know this, but we parents have no idea!  Can you now see why it's critical that every IEP parent have a system to teach them what they need to know about the IEP document and IEP meeting, so they can go into the IEP meeting Informed, Empowered and Prepared?  Parents MUST HAVE an IEP foundation, a step-by-step guide, to teach them IEP meeting prep!  There's a lot parents need to know about IEP meetings!  The more parents don't know, the more power and control the school district will have over the treatment, supports and how and if your child gets educated!

So, let's talk about what an IEP is!

An Individualized Education Program, or IEP, is a personalized legal document created specifically for students who require special education services. It’s created by the IEP Team, which includes the parents and key school members that oversee special education and those professionals that will provide services and supports to your child throughout the school year. It's kinda like a roadmap for your child's educational journey, detailing their disability, strengths, weaknesses, and goals for the upcoming year. Additionally, it outlines the accommodations and services your child needs to thrive in school. It’s all this, and so much more!

Think of the IEP as a document that outlines a legal agreement between you, the parent(s), and the school. It lays out who, what, when, where, why, and how your child will receive special education and related services. Ideally, both parties agree and sign off on it, but sometimes disagreements can arise. And when they do, it can be super stressful for parents, especially if you're not well-versed in IEP meeting prep, the IEP laws, and your rights. Again, this is why the IEP Advantage Course is now available to all parents!

While schools do have a responsibility to inform parents about upcoming IEP meetings and provide them with procedural safeguards (which outline parental rights), the ultimate responsibility for understanding and advocating for their child's education lies with the parents themselves. And herein is where the stress kicks in! Most parents have no idea what an IEP is, let alone understand their child’s disability! If you were like I was, you never heard of the IEP until your child started the evaluation process.

So, how does the IEP process work? Here's my 4 sentence super short version: It can be initiated by either the parents or the school. I’ll have to write a blog soon on just this topic alone!  But, once it's determined that your child needs an IEP, a team of experts will gather to assess your child's needs, strengths, and weaknesses. From there, specific goals are set, tailored to your child's unique requirements. The IEP also outlines the accommodations and services necessary to achieve these goals.

Understanding IEPs is crucial for advocating for your child's education and ensuring they receive the support they need to succeed. Stick around, and throughout my blog and newsletter series, I'll eventually will teach you everything you need to know about IEPs. That will take these next few years, because there's just so much to learn about the IEP and IEP meeting prep… not joking, but I’m going to do it! However, if you're eager to jump ahead and not have to wait it out, check out The IEP Advantage, the course that I designed specifically for parents like you. This is how parents can give their child The IEP Advantage.  There’s literally nothing else like it for parents, I promise! Learn more right now at IEPadvantage.com/access

Join me for the next blog, where we'll delve deeper into the topic of Special Education and why parents shouldn’t fear it!  Until then my friends, join me on TikTok for IEP meeting prep tips and in my Facebook Group: IEP Support Group for Parents (links for these are in the menu at IEPadvantage.com!)  I'll see you on the inside!

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Are Coming Soon!

Online Workshops for IEP Parents Are Coming Soon... Make Sure That You Sign Up!

And the 1st Round is FREE!

If you're a parent of school-aged special needs children and you've been to an IEP meeting, you know how stressful those meetings can be.  Why are they so stressful?  We'll most likely you experience this because you go to the meetings unprepared.  And when you're not prepared, you don't feel 100% confident.  What if I told you that I can show you the was to get 100% prepared and how to feel confident through an online workshop that you can attend with me and other parents like you?  Find the workshops tab and sign up now, because the first step to IEP prep is being offered to you completely FREE!  You're not going to want to miss out on this.  But, thing is, you have to act fast, because seats are being filled as we speak!  And once it's full, it'll no longer be offered for FREE!  

About Author: Tracie Kelly

Tracie Kelly is the course creator of The IEP Advantage course and the creator of The IEP Advantage Community. With this course, she is single-handedly revolutionizing the way parents of school-aged special needs children in the USA prepare for their IEP meetings. She is working to make her course THE new standard for IEP prep for parents in America. Tracie recently spoke at The World Autism Conference in Loveland, CO about IEP meeting prep and continues to reach out to let parents know there is help for them with IEP meeting prep!  Learn more today by looking around The IEP Advantage community and join me on social media (TikTok & Facebook)!

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