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Advice on How to Prevent Your Special Education Advocate from Being Banned from an IEP Meeting

Do you have a child with special needs or are you an advocate helping kids with autism or a different disability to received services for special education? Have you experienced being told district that you cannot join an IEP meeting alongside parents in a particular district? Do you want some advice regarding how to deal with such a situation? In this article, you will learn four tips that you can use in case you, or an advocate you are working with, experience this situation.
The IDEA or Individual with Disabilities Education Act grants parents the right to work with people, who are knowledgeable or has special expertise, concerning the student. Idea likewise declares that parents possess the right to become equal participants as regard the IEP process of their child. Whenever parents ask advocates to join them in a meeting, the advocates should be regarded as IEP team members.

OSEP approves of this and has issued, on January 15, 2004, a memorandum that clarifies the role of an advocate at EIP meetings. It says that – since the advocate was invited to the meeting by the parent, this individual should be considered a team member of the IEP as well as may take on an active part in a student’s IEP. Several advocates are getting banned from these meetings since they are regarded divisive. The following are four tips you can use in case you encounter such a situation:

1. Should your advocate be banned from an IEP assembly, forward a letter to the school district requesting for the state as well as federal law allowing them to implement this. Attach any proof you have that your advocate was really banned (E-mail, letter, etc.). Ask for their response not later than 10 days after receiving your letter.

2. In that same letter, mention that IDEA has granted you the right to have people with knowledge and special expertise about your child to be with you at the IEP meeting. This advocate has handled your child for more than a year and is already very familiar with his/her needs, or else has the necessary training to deal with disability of your child.

3. State as well that IDEA obliges school districts to create an IEP for every child that has a disability, with their parents assuming an important role in the process. And that you need the assistance of a proficient advocate to be able to do this.

4. Send a grievance to the board of education in your state expressing that this school district is going against IDEA by preventing your advocate from joining IEP meetings.

The violations are in fact:
A. You are prevented by the school district to bring along a person with the know-how or special expertise concerning your child, at the IEP assembly.
B. You are prevented by the school district to be an equal participant, as well as to play a vital role in such IEP process.
C. The school district will not be able to provide you with a specific state or else federal law, stating that they are allowed to ban an advocate.

Parents can bring along any advocate they choose to the IEP meetings of their child. A school district cannot prevent any advocate from joining! In case you encounter this, insist on Special Education Advocate IEP Disability rights for the sake of your children’s education.

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