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Is it time to get an advocate


Zoe830
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How do you find an advocate for the IEP process?  We are already in the process for a re-evaluation so I do not have a lot of time. He has had an IEP since he started school for IEP for autism and language processing.  This year there has been some safety issues at school (things they were aware of but never shared with this building staff) and now with a whole new IEP team and me not just letting things go, the last meeting really sounded like a lot of blame on me for the issues he had at school.  Because of this, I am really uncomfortable going into future meetings alone.  But I am not really sure where to start.  I am in Chester County.

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Chester County is full of advocates.  I do advocacy & live in Chester County.  The Arc of Chester County has a bunch of advocates.  Lisa (the woman who runs this group) also lives in Chester County.  Rachel Yevel, the parent mentor at CCIU, is also available to go to meetings with parents.

IMO, the IEP is not FAPE if there are known safety issues and they aren't mentioned in the IEP.  Parentis in loco are responsible for dealing with/preventing issues at school.  Are they wanting you to be your child's 1:1 so you can prevent these issues?  (I know a bunch more advocates.  The advocacy class I took had lots of people who are in the area.)

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No he has a 1-1.  These things happened with the 1-1. I had told them specifically about him eating nonfood items in his previous evaluation.  They refused to address it- wouldn’t put it in the IEP because the adults at school weren’t seeing yet. Therefore in our district where kids change schools every 2 years, no one was looking out for this behavior.  Kids told on him and then the principal told the nurse not to call poison control.  I asked for a meeting to discuss these things and something else.  The school decided this was going to be his annual meeting even though it wasn’t time for an annual.  Wasn’t real happy about listening to my safety concerns. There was a bathroom incident as well. So the last meeting it became more  about what we need to be doing at home and I just don’t know that I’m real comfortable meeting alone with them anymore. His wraparound BCBA did mention Lisa as an advocate.  Is there advocate website to find advocates? I don’t even know how the whole process works and I feel like I’m up against a clock now. 

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry for the delay in replying to this.  I'm finally figuring out how to navigate this site.

NSEAI has a website that lists advocates and COPAA does too.  (NSEAI has hours in Delco where you can go & ask questions.  I think they do this on Wed but call 1st.)  You can also call the people on your local task force - phone numbers are listed on the state task force site.  I've brought my child's BCBA to IEP meetings - they observed my child at school & saw things the school missed because they were familiar with what to look for.  The best advocate might be someone who knows your child (like a sitter or grandparent) but doesn't have advocacy training.  Bringing another person gives you someone to verify if something was said or not during the meeting.  Some of the things you've mentioned could be documented in a parent concerns letter.  Ex:  We see XX trying to eat non-food items.  This hasn't been observed at school but feel that it's only a matter of time before school personnel observe this.  The 1:1 assigned to them should be made aware that this happens in other environments so they can prevent this at school.

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