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5 Essential Tips for Successful PPT Meetings: Navigating Special Education with Confidence

September 24, 2023

Hi, I'm Shay, co-founder of Elea, a digital care management platform for families navigating special education. Welcome to our series of 30 tips in 30 days for successful PPT meetings. As parents of children with special needs, PPT meetings can be daunting, but with the right preparation, you can feel more confident and informed. Today, we're sharing our top 5 tips for making the most of your PPT meetings.

Tip #1: Review your child's current IEP and relevant documents

Before attending a PPT meeting, it's essential to Review all of the documents that will be presented before you arrive at the meeting.

In order to do this, you should follow three simple steps. REQUEST, REVIEW, RECORD.

REQUEST in writing to have all documents sent to you 5 days before the meeting. Make this request at least 2 weeks before the meeting.

REVIEW the documentation. This includes the past IEP, progress notes from the past year, reports and evaluations, and the draft of the proposed IEP.

RECORD your questions down. If you need clarification before the meeting, email or call the school team. The more information you have before the meeting, the smoother it will go.

Tip #2: Reflect on your child's past year

As parents, it's important to take a moment to reflect on your child's past year and consider what has worked well for them and what areas need improvement. To do this, ask yourself these questions:

  • What progress did your child make or not make towards their goals this year?
  • What strategies or accommodations helped your child be successful this year?
  • Were they successful in reaching any goals from the previous year's IEP?
  • Were there any changes in their behavior or attitude towards school?
  • Are there any specific developmental areas or school subjects that your child is struggling with?

By asking yourself these questions, you can better advocate for the necessary accommodations and services that will help your child reach their full potential. Remember, you are an important member of your child's education team, and your input is crucial in creating a plan that will best support their needs.

Tip #3: Bring an advocate or support person

The PPT process can be overwhelming and intimidating, especially if you're not familiar with special education laws and procedures. If you feel that you need additional support, consider bringing a professional advocate or a support person. An advocate or can help you to:

  • Understand your child's rights and the laws that protect them
  • Navigate the PPT process and procedures
  • Understand the documentation and terminology used during the meeting
  • Advocate for your child's needs and goals
  • Provide emotional support during what can be a stressful process

A support person can be a friend, family member or a fellow parent who has been through PPT meetings before. They may not have professional experience with the process, but going into the meeting with someone who can take notes and do a gut check when big decisions arise can make all the difference when you’re in the PPT.

Tip #4: Ask for minutes to be recorded

Ask for minutes to be recorded by the team. It can be difficult to remember everything that was discussed in the meeting, and having a written record is so important. Ask for the minutes to be taken at the beginning of the meeting.  You should also take your own notes, or bring that support person along to take notes for you. If you are in disagreement with a decision or if the school refuses to do something that you are requesting, be sure to state that you want your request and their refusal recorded in the minutes of the meeting. When the documents are delivered to you, be sure that the minutes accurately reflect your request.

Tip #5: Don't hesitate to ask questions

It's important to remember that there are no stupid questions during a PPT meeting. As a parent, you want to make sure that you have a clear understanding of your child's education plan and that your questions and concerns are addressed. Don't be afraid to ask questions, even if you think they may be basic or obvious. If you don’t understand an acronym, a staff person’s role, or how your child’s progress will be measured toward a goal- speak up and ask.

In conclusion, being well-prepared, reflective, and proactive in PPT meetings can make a significant difference in ensuring your child receives the support they need.