One of my first blog posts was about this same subject. It is so important for winning in special education for your children that I am posting about this topic again.
Putting everything in writing documents your side of the story, and that’s why it’s so vital. This means every conversation with school staff, every meeting, telephone calls, even your perspective of what was decided in your child’s PPT must be written.
This is a lot of work, and frustrating that it’s so necessary. But that is the world of special education. Your don’t have to be grammatically perfect when documenting things with the school. A quick email to whomever you are following up with, and a CC to an administrator, is fine.
The sole purpose is to put your understanding and perspective of conversations and events in writing so your side is documented for the record. I usually just use bullet points to get the point across with as little need for writing structure possible.
Dear Ms. Special Ed:
Thank you for taking the time to chat with me in the school hallway this afternoon.
Per our discussion:
- You were going to look into getting my son swimming in the High School Pool two days a week.
- You were going to set up a meeting with his social studies teacher to discuss whether or not he might benefit from extra help one day a week.
- I will let you know which day my son will be available for the field trip.
Best, Special Ed Mom
Unfortunately, it is true that “if it is not in writing, it never happened”. So it is absolutely necessary to document every conversation with school staff if you want to have the ammunition to get the education your child is entitled to and deserves. This is why many parents just give up or hire an attorney.
Giving up does not help your child, and hiring an attorney is very expensive. In my experience attorneys not will treat your child’s case with the vigor and passion that you alone can give.
Get in the habit of writing every relevant communication you have had with the school about your special needs child. Pay specific attention to the portions that are important to you and your child. The effort is well worth it.