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Empowering Parents in PPT Meetings: Tips 6-10 for Navigating Special Education

September 24, 2023

Welcome to our delightful series of 30 tips in 30 days, all aimed at making your PPT meetings a resounding success. We know that as parents of children with special needs, these meetings can sometimes feel overwhelming. But fear not! With the right preparation, you can approach them with confidence and a wealth of knowledge. Today, we're excited to share tips #6 to #10, and don't forget to check out our other blogs for the rest of our fantastic tips!

Tip #6: Embrace the Breaks – Ask for a Recess or Table the Meeting

Let's face it, emotions can run high during PPT meetings, and certain issues may require more time for resolution. In these situations, it's perfectly acceptable to hit the pause button and ask for a recess or table the meeting to a later time. By taking a break or rescheduling, everyone can gather their thoughts, emotions, and even collect additional data, leading to a more informed discussion with a fresh perspective. As a parent, it's important to remember that you have the right to ask for a recess or to table the meeting. Never feel pressured to rush through the discussion or make a decision you're uncomfortable with. Simply request respectfully that the meeting be temporarily paused, clearly stating your reasons. Afterward, make sure to follow up and reschedule the meeting as soon as everyone has the necessary information to move forward.

Tip #7: Decoding Assessment Results – The Bell Curve to the Rescue!

As a parent attending a PPT meeting, you'll likely come across various assessments and evaluation results presented by the school staff. We get it; it can be overwhelming. Evaluations can be lengthy, packed with clinical jargon that may seem like a foreign language, and filled with numbers and score breakdowns that baffle those of us who aren't professionals in the room. Here's a tip to boost your confidence: get acquainted with the bell curve and pay attention to where your child's scores fall on it. The bell curve helps you understand how your child's performance compares to a group of students who took the same test or assessment. Scores in the middle of the curve represent average performance, while scores at the upper or lower ends indicate exceptional or struggling performance, respectively.

Remember, the bell curve isn't a measure of absolute intelligence or ability. Instead, it provides valuable insight into your child's strengths and weaknesses, aiding the development of an appropriate educational plan. If you want a visual model of how the bell curve works, check out Briana's amazing post @educationallypsyched. Her explanation of the curve is top-notch! Understanding the basics of the bell curve can go a long way in helping you interpret assessment results and advocate for your child. If you have any questions or concerns, don't hesitate to ask the school staff for clarification.

[Link to Briana's post:]

Tip #8: Decoding PPT – Who's in the Room?

PPT stands for Planning and Placement Team, a group of individuals responsible for making decisions about a student's special education services. This team usually includes parents, teachers, school administrators, and other professionals familiar with the student's needs. Remember, PPT meetings should be held at least once a year to review and update your child's Individualized Education Program (IEP). However, additional meetings may be necessary if there are significant changes in your child's needs or progress.

When attending a PPT meeting, it's crucial to understand the roles and responsibilities of each team member, as well as the goals and objectives of the meeting. This understanding will empower you to effectively communicate your concerns and collaborate with the team in making decisions that prioritize your child's best interests. It's important to know that you have the right to bring an advocate or support person to the meeting if you feel overwhelmed or intimidated. Additionally, don't hesitate to request an interpreter or translator if you need one.

Tip #9: Demystifying IEP – Individualized Education Program

IEP stands for Individualized Education Program, a written document that outlines the special education services and accommodations your child will receive. The IEP is developed by the PPT team and serves as a roadmap for your child's education. It encompasses tailored goals and objectives that address your child's unique needs and abilities. The document also specifies any accommodations or modifications required for your child to access the curriculum and participate in classroom activities.

Remember, the IEP is a legally binding document, and schools are obligated to provide the services and accommodations outlined within it. If you believe your child's needs aren't being adequately addressed, you have the right to request a review of the IEP or file a complaint with the school district.

Tip #10: Unraveling the Mystery – Related Service Acronyms and Roles

Related services are additional supports your child may need to fully benefit from their education. These services can include speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, counseling, and more. Here are some acronyms and roles you may come across during PPT meetings related to these services:

PT: Physical Therapist – helps children with physical disabilities improve their mobility and independence within their environment.

SLP: Speech-Language Pathologist – assesses and treats speech and language disorders.

OT: Occupational Therapist – provides support to help children develop the skills necessary for daily activities.

BCBA: Board-Certified Behavior Analyst – works with children facing behavioral or social-emotional difficulties.

SW: School Social Worker – supports students and families in enhancing overall well-being and academic success.

Psychologist: School Psychologist – assesses and supports students with academic, social-emotional, and behavioral needs.

Understanding the roles of related services in your child's education is crucial to ensure they receive appropriate support tailored to their individual needs. If you have any concerns about related services, discuss them openly with the PPT team and don't hesitate to ask questions if something isn't clear.

To sum it all up, familiarizing yourself with the PPT process, assessment results, and the roles of professionals involved can make a significant difference in your child's educational journey. Remember, we're here to support you every step of the way.