First time I am doing this and have an IEP meeting scheduled in the morning to get my son, Neel, 3, enrolled into the school district preschool.  Really lost any thoughts at all would be appreciated.

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Hello! Sure! I have been a special education teacher and currently a teacher and have written many IEP's and gone to many meetings. My son Andrew has DMD is 4 and just had an IEP written this year. Depending on your son's needs is how the IEP is written it is individualized for every child. Parents must give consent for anything on the IEP. Andrew was tested for speech/communication skills, fine motor skills and gross motor skills. Obviously with the DMD he has huge delays in gross motor(jumping, running, hopping, steps, etc.) All other areas scored in the normal range. Sometimes boys with DMD have speech delays. Andrew had some, but was not major or that different than his typical peers. He goes to a christian preschool so we take him to Physical therapy twice a month because he adored his school and our school district does not have a public preschool. Since yours does and he qualifies for special education services, they must provide transportation (at least in Ohio - you may want to check California special education laws) They will need to be updated on any medication he is taking and my advice to you is be sure he has the opportunity to be with his typical peers and not isolated. For therapy and things that is fine, but for his education he should get all the same opportunites as the other children his age. Any other questions let me know! I will be glad to help. This was all new to my husband too and it is sometimes overwhelming in the beginning, but in the long run it will be the best for your son because it will help you to have great communication with your school and prepare him for when he begins kindergarden. Thoughts and Prayers! It's tough....I know! Jodi :)
Hi Kulwant,

The IEP process can be a little intimidating, especially when you walk into the room with five or six people - on or two classroom teachers, the special ed. teacher, probably OT and a PT people and most likely a representative from the distict (hopefully the Special Ed. director). Don't forget that you and your son are the key people on that whole team, and, by law, they are there to support you.

I've been a public school teacher for years, and I have often st on the other side of the table, so it was interesting to be on the parent side when we had our first meeting for our son. Jodi is absolutely right, your son should be in the classroom with all other kids most of the time - The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires that kids be educated in "the least restrictive environment" which means that the school has to provide accomodations to allow the regular ed classroom to work for your son. That might mean providing a teachers aide, giving him regualr breaks, etc.

Our son is four, so our biggest concern was just that teachers were aware that he might get tired and that he would need breaks. The district does provide transportation to and from pre-school, pt and ot - all of which have been really helpful. The first couple of meetings have been a lot of education for the teachers. PPMD actually provides some nice guides here http://www.parentprojectmd.org/site/PageServer?pagename=caring_care... - we gave those to Gus' teachers.

Just remember throughout the process that you really are in the driver's seat - and you don't have to sign an IEP until you agree with it. It is, in fact, rare for parents to sign at the initial meeting, take home the IEP, run it by your son's doctor - and think about it. The folks will want you to sign because a school needs a signed IEP for each student who has been identified with a disability, but take your time!

The main limiting factor for the district will always be budget, so you may have to advocate at times for transportation, for physical therapy, for an aide...etc. In the end, though, a district will always come your way if your requests are reasonable, and well-documented (by the doctor) and if you don't sign. The reason for that is that the other options are much more expensive and less productive for any district. Those options are an out-placement, if they can't meet your son's needs - and that is very expensive. or legal proceedings if they refuse to meet your son's needs or don't fulfill the IEP - also very expensive.

I don't want to imply that the proces is antagonistic. Teachers are in the business because they want the best for our kids. Just be aware that you may have to educate folks because DMD is relatively rare. Also, if the district does not cooperate, know that you have the law on your side.

Al the best with this process, your son definitely deserves the best:)

Steve
Thanks for all of the insight. It definitely was helpful!

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