In addition to the usual back to school routines
- getting the school clothes
- getting the supplies
- filling out the back to school paperwork
there is one more routine every parent of a special needs child needs to add–regardless of whether your child is in a 504 plan or has an IEP.
You need to fill out a personalized, school staff contact form for you. It take a bit of time, but you will be glad you have it later in the year.
Create a table that has:
- their name,
- email and
- contact phone number.
First fill in the administrators: the principal, and the assistant vice principal. If your child has IEP also fill in the director of special education for the district and the special ed manager for that school. This is special ed manager usually has several schools that they oversee, and they are a resource person about district special ed policies. If your child has a 504 plan, fill in the district 504 compliance manager.
Now fill in all the teachers. If your child is mainstreamed, make sure you fill in any co-teachers as well.
Now fill in either the school special ed chair & diagnostician (sometimes that is the same person) or the 504 coordinator. These are the people at the school who usually arrange meetings with the parents and school staff for the purposes of IEP/ARD meetings or 504 meetings.
Now fill in the name of any related service provider as well as the district supervisor for that service. So if your child is receiving speech services, fill out the name of the speech pathologist who will actually see your child and the head of speech services for the district. Other possible related services are
- occupational therapy,
- psychological services
- interpreting services
- orientation and mobility services
- physical therapy,
- music therapy,
- recreational therapy,
- social work services
- parent counseling and training
- early identification of young children with disabilities
- medical services for the purpose of evaluation & assessment
Additionally, check to see if your district has a coordinator specific to your child’s disability: especially in the areas of visual & hearing impairment, autism, and dyslexia.
If your child has a plan because of issues they have with reading, make sure that you know who the district reading specialist is in case you have questions about the possible types of curriculum that your child might need.
Once you’ve completed your list, keep it in a cloud drive where you can easily find numbers and emails when questions arise in addition to keeping a paper copy with your child’s paperwork for the year. Now if you aren’t getting the answers you like from the people at your child’s school, you’ll have a list of other people to whom you can address you can address your concerns and questions.
I go more in depth in how to use this network in my course, the Speak Up for Your Child Bootcamp.