Parents of children in special education bring certain expectations to each new school year, and one of them is that services that have been provided in the past will carry over automatically, without any additional parental input. Unfortunately, as anyone who's waited for the special-education bus that never comes on the first day of school or found out after a month that therapy never started can attest, such expectations may be overly optimistic. Whether through deliberate policy shifts, personnel problems, or accidental omissions from IEPs, services can slip through the cracks, and once the school year starts it can be time-consuming for parents to get them going again.
Fortunately, there's a very easy solution for this, and it's similar to the one we often employ when handling our children's bad behavior: Keep the trouble from starting in the first place, and you won't have to deal with the consequences later. For special-education purposes, this means:
- attending your child's IEP meeting as an active participant
- bringing up each and every service your child has received in the past and receiving an assurance that it will continue (or an explanation of why it will not)
- checking the IEP to make sure that the services are all included as discussed and agreed upon at the meeting