Family Resource Network Blog
When my son was little, I used to find the coolest toys to bring with us to the local tot lot to play. It took a little effort, but soon he would be surrounded by kids playing with him. My son has cerebral palsy and couldn’t do the things that the other kids could do at the playground, and this helped him connect with friends. As I got to know other parents and he played with their children, we became a real part of our own community.
Everyone needs friends.
But if you are raising a young child with a development delay, disability or special health care need – connecting with other families in the community can be challenging and the fear of rejection can be overwhelming. Last year when Family Resource Network (FRN) surveyed the families that we had served, what we heard is that families wanted more opportunities to get to know each other in their local neighborhoods and communities.
We listened! Family Resource Nework is proud to create more of these opportunities throughout Alameda County with Our Community parent/child playgroups. Our Community playgroup is an exciting new opportunity for parents and children to come together for casual play experiences and activities. Parents and children get a chance to socialize, play, have fun and get to know other families in their area. We welcome all Alameda County families with a child 0-5 who has a developmental delay, disability, special health care need and/or social-emotional concern.
Playgroups are organized by a local community parent working with FRN. Our Community playgroups are FREE and run in partnership with local libraries and city Parks and Recreation departments. Each playgroup meets once a month. The parent leader coordinates a fun activity, and everyone gets a chance to get together to be an active part of it. The only catch, you have to register to attend. When you do, we’ll be ready and waiting with smiles and new experiences designed just for you and your child.
So, come join us as we plant the seeds for many new friendships and become a part of Our Community!
Eileen Crumm, Family Resource Network Executive Director
With school back in session, it’s time to review some rules and tips to prepare for your IEP (Individual Education Program) meeting. An IEP contains all the details of your child’s specialized education including services, goals, and placement. An IEP meeting is scheduled annually but can happen more often as needed. You can call an IEP anytime by requesting it in writing and one must be held within 30 days (during the regular school year).
Scheduling the IEP: An IEP should be scheduled at a time and place that works for you and the school district. You should receive a notification in writing that includes the proposed IEP date and who will be attending. If you are not able to attend the meeting, or if you think anyone else should be invited to the IEP, let the district know this.
Who must be at the meeting?
• The parent or guardian
• A least one of the student’s special education teachers
• At least one general education teacher (if your child spends time in a general education environment)
• A school district representative (administrative designee) familiar with the delivery of special education services and has the ability to make decisions on behalf of the district
• Any individual(s) qualified to interpret results of assessments that are being presented
• Anyone else who has specific expertise or knowledge of the student invited by the parent or the school district
• The student (when appropriate)
• A spoken or sign language interpreter if you requested one
What if needed staff members don’t attend the IEP, or want to leave early?
It is up to you whether or not to continue on with the IEP without that person. If that person is crucial to the process, you should ask to reschedule the IEP at a time when all required personnel are able to attend the full IEP.
What if I don’t agree to the new IEP?
Don’t sign it! You can agree to the parts of the IEP that you agree with, but let the district know what parts you don’t agree
with in writing. You still have an IEP until a new one is signed and the district must honor what the old IEP says.
Things to do in advance:
If you want to tape record the IEP, let the district know in writing at least 24 hours in advance. The district may also record the IEP. Request
that you receive copies of all assessments preferably in writing at least 5 days prior to the IEP.
What about the “notes” page?
Every IEP includes the notes taken at the IEP meeting. Make sure your concerns, requests and disagreements are included in the
notes; make sure the district’s response to your concerns are documented as well. If the note taker does not write down your position or the district’s response, then request your own notes page. Label this page "parent dissent" and insist that it be attached to the IEP.
What if I don’t speak or understand English well?
You may request an interpreter attend the IEP at district expense. It is up to you, not the school district, whether or not you need an interpreter.