Theodore is from Arlington, Virginia and has helped the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN) communications team. He wants to give students with disabilities and their parents information on Individual Education Plans (also called IEPs) so they will know what to expect.
Here are some useful tips and skills for self-advocates to use in IEP meetings. Your goal should be to help your parents and school staff to understand your needs. Doing so will allow them to better support you. Meetings can be intimidating, but speaking up will improve your school experience.
• Dress well. Being appropriately dressed makes others more likely to respect you. Casual but neat clothing is best.
• Ask questions if you are unsure about anything.
• Talk to your parents. If you are under 18, your family makes decisions for you. Discuss issues with your parents before the meeting.
• Understand your rights. Every student has the right to learn in the least restrictive environment. A restrictive environment means there are many rules and restrictions on behavior. If you feel a program is too restrictive, say so.
• Make a three step plan. First, decide what is best for you. What programs or support do you need to get good grades, learn life skills, and have friends at school? Step two, find your options. What programs and services does your school offer? Lastly, put the plan into action. Persuade your parents and staff to make the right decisions for you.
Download a PDF Version of this blog post.
Download a Rich Text Format (RTF) of this blog post.
Feel free to print and share!