How to Use a Parent Input Statement to Advocate for Needed Special Educational Services

By: JoAnn Collins

This article will discuss how parents of children with disabilities can use a parent input statement to benefit their child's education. The parent input statement is brought to an IEP meeting, and shared with special education personnel. This will allow

Are you the parent of a child with autism or dyslexia, that knows what
educational services your child needs, but do not know how to
communicate them to special education personnel? Would you like to
learn a easy way to have input at your child's individual education
plan (IEP) meeting? A parent input statement, can help you be an
effective advocate for your child, and bring up needed educational
services that will help your child learn.

A parent input statement is a one page statement, where you can give
written input into your child's education. You can include: things
that work for your child, things that don't work, academic struggles
that they have, behavioral difficulties, any educational or related
services that you believe they need, extended school year (ESY), or
assistive technology (AT).

Tips for writing a parent input statement:

1. Keep it short, maximum one page.
2. Use facts as much as possible.
3. State what educational and related services you think your child
needs, and why.
4. Discuss academic progress or lack of academic progress, and what
you think needs to be done about it.
5. Include any adaptations, modifications, educational or related
services that are helping your child with their education.
6. Discuss any behavioral difficulty that your child has, and what the
school has done about it. Also state if you feel that they are not
handling the behavior/discipline according to the Individuals with
Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

Below is an Example of a parent input statement:

"Parent input statement 9-6-20xx

My son Tommy is 9 years old, is in fourth grade, and receives special
education services under the category of Learning Disability (LD). I
have received the results of his Woodcock Reading Mastery Test from
his teacher, Mrs. Jones. Tommy's Word Identification is at a grade
equivalent (GE) of 1.7, word attack (decoding) is GE 2.7 and a basic
skills cluster of grade equivalent 1.9. This means that my son Tommy's
reading is at least 2 years below his grade appropriate peers. I am
very concerned that if Tommy does not receive appropriate instruction
in reading, his like will be negatively affected forever.

IDEA and No Child Left Behind state that curriculum must be
"scientifically research based." What this means is that their is
research to show that the program works to teach children to read. The
Orton-Gillingham Methodology of simultaneous multisensory instruction
has many years of research to back its effectiveness with teaching
children to read. I have information on this methodology that I would
like to share with the IEP team.

Tommy, not only needs an Orton-Gillingham reading program, but the
person who is teaching him must be trained in this area. My son also
needs to receive the program for the recommended length of hime, not
less. Tommy is currently receiving 30 minutes a day of reading
instruction while the Orton-Gillingham program recommends xx amount
per day of instruction. Thank you for working with me to help my son
learn to read.

Miss Smith"

Mention at the beginning of the meeting that you have a parent input
statement to share with the IEP team. Bring up the statement when you
think it is an appropriate time. Bring enough copies for everyone at
the meeting, and make sure that it is attached to your child's IEP.

A parent input statement will help you clearly state what educational
or related services that your child needs. Remember that for your
child to receive an appropriate education the instruction they receive
must "give meaningful benefit" to your child.

JoAnn Collins is the mother of two adults with disabilities, and has
helped families navigate the special education system, as an advocate,
for over 15 years. She is a presenter and author of the book
"Disability Deception; Lies Disability Edutators Tell and How Parents
Can Beat Them at Their Own Game." The book has a lot of resources and
information to help parents fight for an appropriate education for
their child. For a free E newsletter entitled "The Special Education
Spotlight" send an E mail to JoAnn@disabilitydeception.com. For more
information on the book, testimonials,and a link to more free
articles, go to: http://www.disabilitydeception.com.

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