So. Many. Documents!
Many parents are unprepared for the amount and variety of documents they receive from the school when their child needs special education services. They anticipate all of the typical ones, sure: report cards, artwork, worksheets, etc.
But then comes:
- behavior charts
- discipline referrals
- assessment consents
- psychological reports
- academic assessments
- OT assessments
- IEP meeting notices
- Procedural Safeguards
- IEP drafts
- Approved IEPs
- Amended IEPs
- IEP goal progress notes
- provider service logs
- medication authorizations
- bus referrals
….and that can all be in less than a full school year!
Parents often ask:
What should I keep?
Where should I keep them?
Which ones will I need to refer to repeatedly?
How do I interpret these assessment reports?
Is the school looking out for my son’s best interest or are they pushing him out?
Are his rights being protected?
How do I really know?
The Documents Tell a Story
When you hire Charting the Course to join your child’s team, one of your very first tasks is to gather and share with us all of the documents we need in order to see what educational story those documents are relaying. Hopefully they are accurate; if they are not, we will address that as well. You will be provided a list of what documents are likely in your child’s file at school. If you have no documents, or don’t know where to find most of them, you can request to meet someone at your child’s school to examine their file (you will want to ask to see their Limited Access File). While you are there, a school staff member will sit with you while you review it. Don’t feel singled out; this is standard practice. You may ask for copies or scan the documents you may be missing that are on the provided list. Take note of any that are NOT in the file as well as those that are. The school is permitted to charge you for copies, but they will usually provide copies for free if you are only asking for a few documents.
Once you have shared the documents with Charting the Course, we will discuss the story the documents tell about your child. Your advocate will point out any discrepancies and areas that may need further investigation. Together we then decide how to best use the information available to develop an advocacy plan that aligns with the vision for your child’s future.
Truthfully, you should keep everything.
Some documents are more valuable than others, and you will need to reference them often. Others should be filed, either physically or digitally, in the event they are needed during a dispute. Your advocate will assist you in identifying the most crucial documents that you will reference often. You can also receive help developing a physical binder or electronic directory of your child’s educational and therapeutic records.
The site cannot and does not contain legal or medical advice. All information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only.