Helpful Advocacy Tips


Tips of the Week!

Please remember if you wish to speak to a specific teacher or service provider at your child’s IEP meeting OR
if you wish to discuss goals developed for your child by a specific service provider THEN
you must submit in writing, at least one week prior to the meeting, your request to have those specific service providers to be in attendance at your IEP meeting.
Please DO NOT ASSUME that a particular person will be in attendance at your child’s IEP meeting unless their name is stated as an attendee on your meeting notice.
For those of you who receive private services outside the school, you MUST make sure your private providers have submitted their progress reports, goals, and WRITTEN justification for any recommendations to increase services, decrease group sizes or for 12 month services.


Attention All Parents!

If your child has an IEP and you feel he/she needs a summer PROGRAM (not summer school) to avoid regression and to catch up on their delay, PLEASE CONTACT US ASAP!!

The time to act on this is NOW!

Parents of our district (District 31) are uniting to get self contained (12:1, 12:1:1) programs this summer to meet the need of students with significant delays, as well as one and two hour daily SETSS services to meet the need of our CTT/SETSS students who are only moderately delayed.

The funding is there through a state education grant. All we need is interested parents!

Please contact us for more information or if you would like us to advocate for your child in this matter.



Other Previous Tips of the Week!


Web links for the new SESIS IEP

As of this month, the DOE has changed the way the IEP is being developed. They use a new computer program (SESIS) that they all claim to have received inadequate and insufficient training on. Although the teams are supposed to all use “Smart Boards” to develop the IEPs at the table, in the full view of the parent, they don’t. MANY mistakes are being made as a result of all this. Misinformation and inaccurate statements are made at the table, and the child’s needs and goals are not being addressed and the child’s services to include group sizes, testing accommodations, modified promotional criteria, and management needs, seem to get dropped off the IEP.

It seems that the DOE is making more changes than they were prepared for, and their lack of preparedness is at the kids cost! The changes have been made, the meetings are taking place, and the team is lost in confusion and lack of proper training and guidance.

Since time is of the essence when getting prepared for an IEP meeting, I have decided not to make everyone wait two weeks for my second tip, so this week’s tip will be a two for one….

Tip #1: Bring a blank copy of the new IEP, (it can be found at the link below), with you to your child’s meetings. This way, while the meeting is going on you can follow along with your eyes to make sure EVERY part of the IEP is being addressed. A copy of the new IEP is attached, and below you will find the link to the state education website and a variety of relevant documents.

Link to State Ed site that has the download for the new IEP form.

Click on: Individualized Education Program Form – Word (323 KB)

Directions on how to use the new form:

Below is a link to the Sate Education Department’s guidance document called “Creating a Quality IEP”. This document will guide you through every part of the IEP development process.

Tip #2: Exercise your right to bring a tape recorder (digital is best), to every meeting. This will ensure that everything is done the way it should, no one claims “selective amnesia” and change what was agreed upon, and that omissions and mistakes don’t overtake your child’s IEP. My reasoning for suggesting this now is because in the last two weeks I have been with teams who agreed to one thing at the table, and then when they sent home the IEP it didn’t reflect what was said.

To exercise your right to bring a tape recorder you must give your school assessment team written notice at least 72 hours of the meeting.


SESIS and the New IEP:

The new IEP and IEP development process (SESIS) is supposed to be more parent friendly and it is supposed to increase parent participation in the process.

There are three sections in the new IEP that is specifically for “Parent Concerns”. Concerns like safety awareness, social skills, academic concerns, play skills (win/lose behaviors and turn taking) etc. get placed in these sections. PLEASE make sure your team allows you to state your concerns in this part of the IEP.

There is also a place to state “adaptive function”. This is the section that you need to make sure gets filled out accurately. If your child can’t tie his shoes, button or zip, eat properly (choking, manners etc), or even perform daily hygiene skills (bushing teeth, blowing their nose, washing hands unprompted etc.), this is the place it must be stated.

Make sure there are goals written to support all of your concerns and all of your child’s adaptive functioning needs. DO NOT let the team talk you out of writing ALL the goals you want worked on for any modality. One of the oldest tricks in the book is to write only one or two goals for a service, and then in spring the provider will tell you that your child met “all of his/her goals” and no longer needs the service.

Remember, you are an EQUAL member of your child’s IEP team, don’t let anyone there put you in the back seat, or steam roll over you!



Jaye Bea Smalley, Co-President of the Ctiywide Council on Special Education (CCSE) created a petition entitled VOICE YOUR CONCERN OVER SPECIAL EDUCATION BUSING IN STATEN ISLAND, because she cares deeply about this very important issue.

She is trying to collect 500 signatures, and could really use your help.

To read more about what she is trying to do and to sign her petition, click here:

It’ll just take a minute!

Once you’re done, please ask your friends to sign the petition as well. Grassroots movements succeed because people like you are willing to spread the word!

Victoria Shklanko
Administrative Assistant
Citywide Council on Special Education
28-11 Queens Plaza North – Room 522
Long Island City, New York 11101
Phone No. (718) 391-8354
Fax No. (718) 391-8095


Formal and informed consent.

Whenever you open your child’s case, always remember to put formal and informed consent in your letter. By doing this you can save as much as 20 school days on the timeline of your child’s case.


Consent Blurb:

“Please consider this letter my formal and informed consent for any and all evaluations deemed necessary to meet this request.”



The IEP is a binding two party contract.

When in an IEP development meeting, your concerns should be reflected in the goals and the process of developing an IEP is supposed to be collaborative one. That means that people shouldn’t read to you reports, they should explain the reports and share with you how those scores effect your child’s ability to learn at a typical rate. It also means that any concerns or observations you have regarding your child’s learning process and delays, must also be reflected in the IEP.

The IEP goals should NEVER reflect the learning standards, more rather it should reflect how the school is going to address the part of your child’s disability that prevents them from learning the standards.

Remember, learning the curriculum and being taught the learning point standards is your child’s right, and teaching it is your school’s responsibility. IEP goals are not supposed to be a restatement of what the school is supposed to be doing anyway. IEP goals are supposed to be developed with an individualized approach and they should reflect how the school is going to teach your child the strategies and compensatory skills necessary to learn the curriculum and standards.

One more thing, NEVER sign the acceptance letter without the completed IEP in your hands, and without having at least a day to review it.

Please contact us for more information or if you would like us to advocate for your child in this matter.


This tip is regarding 12 month summer related services.

Althought the DOE is telling parents to wait until after the spring break in April 2011 to open their cases for 12 month services, DON’T WAIT!!!!

It is NEVER advisable to wait until after spring break to open a case for any reason. The law allows the DOE 60 school days to develop an IEP. If you wait until after the break in April, you will not get your meeting until AFTER the summer starts.

We have all our clients open their cases for summer services/programs before the President’s week break. This way, there are several breaks (Thanksgiving, Christmas, President’s week) to assess and evaluate regression and the IEP gets developed in time to find providers.

It is also advisable to use the time frame we suggest, just in case the team won’t approve 12 month services and you need to fight their decision.

Please contact us for more information or if you would like us to advocate for your child in this matter.


For Parents of “turning five” children:

When you are at the CSE review that develops your child’s kindergarten IEP, do NOT allow the team to chip away at your child’s services on the “orders” of a “supervisor” who is not at the meetings, who has not evaluated your child, and who has not observed or met your child.

This practice is illegal!

Only persons who have met, worked with, or evaluated your child is legally able to change services or have input in recommendations to your child’s IEP or services.

If this happens to you, do NOT accept the IEP and contact an advocate ASAP!

Please contact us for more information or if you would like us to advocate for your child in this matter.

Post a Comment




  1. Melissa Greene says:

    I would love to use you as an advocate. I would also like to enroll my daughter in the 12 months services. Just waiting for my revaluation letter from my daughters school