How Will I Know If My Child’s IEP or ETR has Changed?
Parents are involved in both the individualized education program (IEP) and the comprehensive evaluation team meetings and process. You should be part of any changes in your child’s IEP or ETR associated with the comprehensive evaluation process. When the team, which includes you, makes a change in documents after they have been signed, it is required that they complete a form called the Prior Written Notice form. The name of this form makes no sense, because it is completed after you make a change, but that is what the form is called. Prior Written Notice is the form used to document changes. When the team, including the parent, meets to discuss changes, this form is used to ensure that all team members, including parents, are aware of the changes. The school district is required to fill out the form and send it to you if they need to complete an evaluation, change the student’s eligibility, or if there are service changes in your child’s IEP.
Let’s say you want to discuss making a change on your child’s IEP or ETR, that is perfectly fine. You can ask the school team to note the highlights of the discussion concerning these proposed changes in the form. If you want more explanation about the contents of a Prior Written Notice, the school will provide a professional to explain to families.
If a disagreement occurs in any part of the special education process, it may be helpful to go over the procedural safeguards, which are referred to as “Ohio Department of Education’s A Guide for Parent’s Rights in Special Education.” This guide details the legal rights of parents and guardians who have children with disabilities. Families receive this guide upon first request for a special education evaluation, although you can request a copy of the procedural safeguards at any time.
If you are confused, need more time to think, or simply disagree with what is written in an IEP, you may indicate this by putting your signature in the “disagree” section on the IEP form. Additionally, there is a section in the Prior Written Notice form for parent comments. Families may also contact Ohio’s Coalition for the Education of Children with Disabilities (OCECD), Office for Exceptional Children (OEC), or initiate dispute resolution procedures. We hope that families never get to this point and that they seek out professionals to support them through the special education process.
Ohio Department of Education, Prior Written Notice form can be accessed here. This document can be downloaded for viewing.