I was just wondering if I should get an advocate for my son's first IEP preschool meeting. I know other individuals have said that advocates are extremely helpful. Just not sure if we need one at the preschool level. Thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.
There are good advocates and poor advocates. My opinion is go to the first meeting and get the lay of the land. Try to figure out if people are being transparent or if they have other agendas. Do they listen to you? Do they act like they actually are interested when you answer a question. Try to begin building relationships.... a collaborative experience.
Prior to the meeting, go to the wrightslaw website and start reading how to be a good advocate. Order their book from "Emotions to Advocacy". The sooner you understand how to be a good advocate, the better you will do.
Advocates can help. But gaining the knowledge yourself is even more helpful.
If you suspect the school district might try to deny eligibility for services, then I would hire an advocate proactively.
I've been through 3 IEP meetings at the preschool level (2 school changes and a transition to K) and haven't used an advocate. I've been fortunate that my son has been in good schools so far; therefore, I go in assuming the school wants to do what is best for my child, but I still pay close attention to details. I've done my homework in reading up on special education law and I NEVER sign anything that I have not fully read. If something still is not right, remember that parents can call an IEP meeting at any time. IEP meetings can be overwhelming, and it can be helpful to have someone with you to help.
This site has some basic info on IDEA and IEPs: http://www.mansfieldtanick.com/CM/Articles/IDE-...
I say def bring an advocate they know all the termenology you may not and can explain it further after the meeting . Ask them to write things down while you listen and ask and aswer questions
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