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Whether your child’s headed back to school or has a brand-new Individualized Education Program (IEP), you’ll want to get him off to a good start. Here’s what you can do to kick off his IEP and year the right way.

  1. Print out a copy of your child’s IEP.

    Make sure you have (and have read) every page of the IEP — from the attendance sheet to the notes section. Read more to on Understood.org to learn which parts of your child’s IEP are most important.

  2. Attach an introduction letter to the IEP.

    It’s a great way to share unique things teachers should know about your child that aren’t included in his IEP. Use this back-to-school letter form as a guide.

  3. Confirm your child’s schedule.

    Teacher assignments can change over the summer or when a program changes. Know your child’s most up-to-date schedule and teacher names.

  4. Give a copy of the IEP and introduction letter to all of his teachers.

    This can help make everyone aware of your child’s needs. It also helps keep general education teachers involved.

  5. Ask to be kept informed.

    You’ll get scheduled progress updates, but let providers know you’re available to talk and problem-solve as issues come up.

  6. Set up a check-in meeting.

    Before calendars are booked, schedule a time a few weeks into the year to sit down with the IEP plan administrator and/or special education teacher.

  7. Go over the IEP with your child.

    Make sure your child knows the accommodations he should have (and can ask for) and the services he’ll be getting.

  8. Practice self-advocacy with your child.

    Talk about ways he can remind teachers about what’s in the IEP. You can’t be with him, so he’ll need to know how to speak up effectively.

Read more: School discipline: The rights of students with IEPs and 504 plans

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