Special Education Task Force emphases importance of communication

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Students work on online schooling at the Virtual School Care Center in Richmond, Virginia (WRIC Photo/Kerri O’Brien)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- Remote or online education has been a difficult learning experience for some students, teachers, and parents. For those students who require special education, and the parents/teachers that support them, it can be even more difficult.

The importance of good communication in the development of Individual Education Plans (IEP’s) between the school district and parents, especially with limited in-person education or meetings, was the highlight of the Special Education Task Force’s webinar Thursday.

Despite the challenges, educators said they are finding more parents are engaging in virtual meetings because of the flexibility they provide to working parents or caregivers. School districts are required to conduct IEP meetings whether virtually or by conference call.

The success of an IEP is dependent on continuing to communicate throughout the school year. Educators gave suggestions to both parents and teachers on how to make sure virtual or conference call IEP meetings were lucrative. They said proper preparation is key.

  • If another party such as a therapist is going to attend the meeting, notify the school well in advance so a virtual meeting link can be sent to them.
  • It’s recommended all parties use a camera for virtual meetings to create a more comfortable atmosphere that mimics an in-person meeting.
  • Parents can request virtual meetings be recorded.
  • IEP reports should be shared with parents 5 days in advance of meetings and should be sent in the native language of the parents/caregivers.
  • An agenda by parents/caregivers and teachers should be created including the purpose of the meeting, course of action, or placement changes.

Educators reminded parents and other teachers that the IEP is a living document and said if a plan isn’t working it’s important for that to be communicated between parties. Additional information and resources can be found on the Special Education Task Force’s website.

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