Well, here is the Official IEP Back to School Survival Guide
A Note For Parents
Depending on the LD, it is always encouraged to help your child prepare for school and ensure accommodations are met. However, as your child gets older and prepares for the real world, not every teacher or employer will understand or even have knowledge of the disability or accommodation. That is why it is very important to teach your child to gain self advocacy skills and prepare them for what is to come in the near future, when not everyone has their file on-hand.
Now that you’re ‘double digits’, you will probably want to gain some independence…start with school! Try talking with your teachers, TA/EA, and Spec. ed teachers about your accommodations so that you understand what you need help with and also DON’T be afraid to ask for help, that’s what teachers and parents are here for.
Now that you are officially a teen, you are one step closer to becoming a young adult. In that case, it’s your job to now communicate to your teachers in advance about work load, what accommodations need to be in place, and why. Also speak with your spec. ed teacher regularly so that you are up-to-date and knowledgeable on how to properly develop new learning skills and study habits in preparation for high school.
Freshmen, this is the year that you finally have the independence you want as a teenager. You should learn proper study habits that fit your needs and that will most likely come from spec. ed teachers and peers alike. Be prepared to know that you’re newly registered accommodations will be known to the Special Education department. Your teachers will most likely be notified that you have an IEP, but it is up to you to ensure that those accommodations are being fully enforced in the classroom and during tests/exams. If an accommodation is not being met that you are entitled to, please say something. And be sure to ask for help and properly manage your time, especially when those first semester exams get tough!
You are getting closer to becoming an adult. It is your job now to lessen bouts of procrastination. Start learning the best study habits for you and also understand what it means to be a young adult with a disability. Be sure to communicate to your teachers that you have a LD and also reinforce those accommodations early in the semester. Tell your teachers you have an IEP on the first or second day of school so they can accommodate you accordingly. Also, don’t think that every accommodation will be given to you automatically during tests and exams. Set up those accommodations in advance, so you and your teachers are fully prepared. Lastly, be prepared to be independent and not fully rely on your special education teacher. It is now your job to understand how the IEP system works and how teachers handle disabilities in post secondary as preparation. Communicate with your teachers because they cannot guess accurately how you learn and what methods help soften the learning curves; it is your job to make sure they know that and that you are getting the best methods to meet your needs. If an accommodation is not being met that you are entitled to, please say something.
You’re on your own! Now that you’ve gained the proper self advocacy skills, put them to good use. Speak to your disability counsellor, set up what accommodations you need. Also, depending on provincial educational laws, it is VERY important that you have all the proper documentation of the history of your learning disability in order to proceed in getting accommodations for school. Also, since your professors do not know if you have a disability first hand, it is important that you talk to them early in the semester (as early as the first week) and fully explain your needs IN PERSON (Do not just hand them a note because it will be difficult to identify you in such a large body of students). However, unlike elementary and secondary school, your disability is kept confidential and it is up to you to disclose that private information. If an accommodation is not being met that you are entitled to, please say something.
NOTE: You will not have an ‘IEP’ when you go to college or university. It is important that you understand what your disability is, how to build a bridge to gap the barriers of your disability, and also be vocal and open with your professors and disability counsellor about your needs because they are here to assist you in the best learning possible.
Now that you are prepared for the new grade ahead, be ready to stand on two feet and be vocal about your needs!
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