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#TakeawayTuesday - Our Top Takeaways From Our Webinar With Sanford Autism Consulting

Last week The B.R.I.D.G.E. Project returned with another awesome organization for the Wednesday Webinar Series! On Wednesday we learned about 'Preparing for Your Best IEP Meeting Yet' with Sanford Autism Consulting's Crystal Sanford.

This week's webinar was another opportunity to share the awesome resources available to San Diego County and beyond. We're happy that so many of you have been able to get the tools you need to be better advocates for your children, information that gives you the confidence to know that you are on the right path, and even when you simply need to change directions with how you approach obtaining supports and services. We also know from your feedback that you have questions specific to your child, your family, and your stage in the very individual journey of being a parent of a child with disabilities.

With that in mind, please continue to reach out to us (right here on the website) using the chat feature, on our Facebook page messenger, our Twitter, and our Instagram - we'll always listen to you (even if that is all you need), answer your questions honestly, and get you connected to resources, supports, partner advocates, and help your child and family needs.

Now on to our takeaways from our webinar with Sanford Autism Consulting's ​Owner/Director/Lead Advocate, Crystal Y. Sanford, M.Ed, M.A. CCC-SLP...

During the webinar, we explored the techniques to prepare for your best IEP meeting yet!

Here's what we learned:

• Tip 1: Review your documents; request a copy of the IEP and assessment reports;

review/organize past IEPs: It's always a great idea to have your own copies of IEPs, assessment reports, and past IEP's and reports to compare. The organization of documents and contact logs is an essential piece of your puzzle as an advocate. More on that in Tip 2.

• Tip 2: Create your Parent Input Statement: develop a brief synopsis of your child’s

current strengths/challenges, interests, concerns for this school year, strategies

that works, how you would like to be contacted throughout the year: Preparation doesn't start the week or day of the meeting. Keep a notebook designated for your child where you keep information regarding the team, contact information, and all concerns that have arisen since the last IEP meeting. Take the week leading up to the IEP meeting to organize these notes into a statement that can be included in this section of the IEP. Remember, no one knows your child better than you. You offer an insightful and important perspective on what your child's strengths and challenges are and where the strategy to meet goals begins! You can also scan all documents with a smartphone to be sure you have them available to email when they're requested. See an example video HERE FOR ANDROID & HERE FOR IPHONE

• Tip 3: Request to record the IEP meeting; this is your right in CA; may provide vital

information to support your case if things go awry in the future: This is your right! Maybe you could not capture all the names or titles of the team that attended. Maybe you want to be sure you've documented accurately what has transpired. You just may need this vital piece of information in the future to support a request. Always ask to record the meeting.

• Tip 4: Don’t go it alone! Bring someone with you to every meeting (family member,

private service provider, Regional Center service coordinator, advocate, neighbor, etc.): You can have whoever you want at the meeting. Whether that is your Service Coordinator with SDRC, a member of the BRIDGE Project team, an aunt, a grandparent, someone who is providing services and/or support to your child, or anyone you or your child wants to invite. Again, this is your right!

• Tip 5: Prepare your questions for the team; use language that is specific and not

inflammatory; ask for examples; be “matter of fact” instead of accusatory: This is your meeting! When you begin with this in mind you can remain calm. Remember, using language and terms that are specific to your child's needs, strengths, and challenges is the key to communicating your desired approach to your child's individual plan.

If you haven't already, check out the webinar replay on our video replay page. The slides from the presentation are available for download also.

Be sure to be on the lookout for our next webinar in the series by subscribing to our site to be notified of updates or simply visit to RSVP - we post new webinars weekly!


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