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What is an IEP Coach? Do you need one on your team?

advocacy iep iep coach
Mother of child in special education wondering what an IEP Coach is.

Whether new to the IEP process or not, you may not know who is on the IEP team.  You might not even realize that you are the key player.

 

Who’s on the team?

Your child’s IEP team consists of a representative of the school district administration, the educators (both general and special education), someone who can interpret the data (can be one of the prior) and most importantly the parent(s).  With parental permission, individuals with knowledge or special expertise involving the child (your IEP Coach) may be invited as well. 

There are some rules and guidelines involved but we’re going to stick with the basics for now.

 

What does the IEP Coach do?

Your IEP Coach can be helpful in many areas of the meeting (before, during and after).  Your coach can also help guide you through issues that arise concerning the interpretation and compliance of the IEP by the team at any time.

 There are three main areas where the IEP Coach might help.

 

1. Advocacy – your coach can help you communicate with an otherwise uncooperative team or member.  Written communication is always the best route because there is a record.  An IEP Coach is experienced and often trained in how to write an effective letter.  Whether it’s a simple change request or a major violation of the IEP, a well written advocacy letter can get results without escalation.

As an advocate your coach can attend the IEP meeting with you – being an extra ear, taking notes, helping you communicate thoughts or just moral support.

2. Consulting – your coach will answer questions when able or at the very least be able to point you in the right direction.  There are many moving parts to an IEP, and your coach can help you decode and understand them.  Most coaches have a large network and resources to pull from.  A coach can make recommendations, often in many different areas concerning your child’s needs.  It is very important to remember that an IEP Coach is not a lawyer (usually) and can not practice law or give legal advice.

Consultation services can often be on retainer to be used as needed within a specified time.  You might want to run something by them for their thoughts.  You may be having trouble communicating effectively with the team.  The comfort of knowing your coach is an email or phone call away can be priceless at times!

3. Coaching – just like a football coach, your coach can get you ready for the big game.  She or he will teach you the steps (plays) to becoming the MVP of your child’s IEP team.  Your coach will provide you the tools, resources and support you need for continued IEP success!

 

Who should hire an IEP Coach?

  • Parents who need help navigating and negotiating IEP issues
  • Parents who want to contribute to IEP goal writing with the team
  • Parents who need assistance writing letters to the IEP team and school administration
  • Parents who want to be the IEP team leader
  • Parents who question the appropriateness of their child’s IEP
  • Parents who want more involvement in their child’s education
  • Parents who are feeling unheard by their education team
  • Parents who feel their child is not making progress
  • Parents who need better home to school communication

 

What else can an IEP Coach do?

  • Provide support and training to special needs parenting groups
  • Work cooperatively with organizations to provide services to special needs families
  • Provide inspiration to staff of organizations serving special needs families

 

How can I work with you?

If you are a parent or representative of a special needs family please feel free to contact me or schedule a Free 20 minute consultation.

If you are an organization or group interested in having me speak or present please fill out the contact form or send an email to [email protected].

 

 

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