SELF HELP STRATEGIES FOR PARENTS*
Be a communicator and a record maker
The Pre-PPT Letter
As an attorney in the area of special education in Connecticut as well as a Mom of two children with disabilities I know it is essential that you the parent become an effective advocate for your child. The dynamics of a PPT meeting can be intimidating to say the least. Through knowledge and through specific strategies you can level the playing field and successfully navigate the special education process. The focus of this article is on being an effective communicator and record maker before during and after the PPT meeting. To achieve this aim we will look at a key advocacy approach, the pre-PPT letter.
Function of the Pre-PPT Letter
Very frequently parents who contact me complain that there was little or no discussion of issues that were important to them at the PPT. This, very frequently, can be the result of insufficient allocated time. More worrisome some parents report that there is significant discussion and debate over issues, but no documentation of parent concerns on the IEP. A pre-PPT letter can address both of these concerns. By putting your concerns and proposals in writing prior to the PPT the team is aware and put on notice that you will require time to discuss your concerns, evaluations and/or proposals. It also goes into your child’s educational file. In this letter, you can even ask that the meeting be rescheduled if time will be limited. Also, by putting your proposals in writing (and, of course, stating them at the actual PPT) your proposals cannot be ignored and they must accept or reject them giving you prior written notice for each proposal (I will discuss prior written notice in another blog entry/article). If they fail to do so your letter is a record of your concerns.
Content of the Pre-PPT Letter
The letter itself should be positive and nonconfrontational. Beware of statements such as “I am concerned about the school’s negligence in failing to provide Occupational Therapy services for my son…” You will put the staff on the defensive and they will come to the meeting with all the data they can compile as to why your son does not require OT. Instead, be cooperative. For example, “In order have a productive and collaborative PPT meeting I wanted to put forth my concerns in advance of our meeting. I am concerned about my son’s fine motor skills. I will present the results of a recent OT evaluation and I will be proposing OT services 1 hour per week.”
Note that the use of “concerns” and “proposing” is deliberate here. Using the word “concerns” requires the PPT Chair to document your issues under “Parent Concerns” in the IEP. Similarly, use of “proposing” triggers the need to give you prior written notice of acceptance and or refusal. This is particularly important should you need to go to the state complaint process, mediation or a due process hearing.
I hope you found this helpful. If you require specific assistance please do not hesitate to contact the Law Office of Ann E. Rose, LLC located in Newtown, CT to schedule a no obligation consultation at (203) 304-1332.
*These articles are published as a service to parents and are not meant to be a substitute for legal counseling. Each case is individual and the information contained herein may not apply to you. No attorney client relationship is established in viewing these articles. Further, every attempt will be made to keep these articles current, but laws are constantly changing.