What is the Most Important Hour in Your Child’s Life ?

Nov 6, 2018 by

Michael F. Shaughnessy –

This is not a trivia question, but a most serious one. Surely if your son or daughter was hospitalized and needed surgery- the hour ( or more ) that they were under surgery may be the most important hour in your child’s life.  Hopefully, none of your children will need surgery.

But there IS a very very important hour that bears examination. That hour is the child’s first I.E.P. ( Individual Education Plan) 

At that meeting parents are informed of the child’s exceptionality, perhaps their child’s I.Q. and PLP ( Present Level of Performance or functioning ) , their skills in expressive and receptive language- and perhaps their visual motor skills, and maybe even their social skills or creativity skills.

At that meeting there will be a discussion as to what needs the child might need- speech therapy, occupational therapy, counseling, physical therapy, and perhaps even dietary needs and transportation needs.

At that meeting, goals and objectives for the child will be constructed- or lifted from the Brigance or AIMS or some other computerized program.

Accommodations and modifications may be suggested and documented and teachers may sign that they are going to implement those accommodations and perhaps modifications.

Information as to developmental history may be shared. If the child is on medication, the school nurse may probe or communicate the dosage.

Behavior MAY be an issue and there could be an FBA or BIP discussed or implemented or suggested.

Questions and discussions may follow. What I have written above may not be comprehensive. Past evaluations may be reviewed, and teacher observations submitted.

At the end of the meeting a lot of paper is passed around and signed and hopefully there is agreement as to where the child is to be placed-and how much and how many services the child is to receive and where.

Parents should know that the hour ( or more ) spent at this meeting is critical and crucial for the child’s future. Questions should be asked and answered respectfully.

Often, a parent is unhappy with the process. Things are not addressed, questions are not clearly answered and parents are unsatisfied.

So, I have constructed a letter for parents who are concerned about a follow up, when they do not feel that their concerns have been addressed or that their IEP has been ” rushed through”.


TO: Chairperson of IEP Committee

I am eagerly awaiting the next IEP meeting. I remain concerned about my child’s progress and the amount of services the child is receiving. 

I feel rushed during the meeting, and I am hoping that you will allocate adequate time to address my many concerns.

I remain concerned that I am not getting feedback from teachers in a timely manner.

I would like to see my child receive counseling or support. 

I would like to see more specificity in the goals and objectives- which I feel are vague and general.

I know that you are all busy, but I feel that a parent deserves some respect, and assistance from the school on behalf of their child.

I look forward to a very helpful meeting and hope to be heard and listened to during the meeting.




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