Director's Update

What's Going On In Special Education In Bedford

Parent Concerns in the IEP

Although a parent concern statement is not explicitly mentioned in IDEA, IDEA mentions parent participation many times. Your voice in your child’s IEP is extremely important and the IEP team wants your input.

Timing: The timing of when you submit your parents concerns is also not mandated in the regulations anywhere but in order for the team to address your concerns, the best time to submit your parental concern statement is when you are RSVPing to the meeting. There is nothing to be gained by waiting until the IEP meeting or presenting your concerns after the team meets. It’s in your child’s best interest if all members of the team understand your concerns prior to the meeting so we can address them and when appropriate, incorporate them into the IEP.

What should be included: Your concerns should be student focused. Your statement should just include the facts. Think about what your three to four main concerns for your child are for the upcoming year. Some ideas might be behavior concerns, strategies that are working/or not working, strategies that you’d like to see be implemented and data you have to support these requests.

What should not be included: You should not include anything that doesn’t pertain to your student and their individual learning needs.This statement is not a place to voice your concerns about staff or other students in your child’s class or grade. This is also not a place to discuss the concerns about what happened in the past. This is a plan for your students' educational services for the upcoming year.

How long should the statement be? Again, there is nothing in the regulations stating how long a parent's concern statement can be, but your statement should be clear and concise. Remember, members of your child’s team will read these statements and you want them to have a clear understanding of what your concerns are for this particular IEP period. If your parent concern statement is too long and talks about the past, your concerns for this IEP may not be understood. We highly recommend you think about your top three to four concerns and submit those in a bulleted list.

Can you submit your parental concerns after the meeting? That’s not advisable. Again, it’s important to have your participation in the planning of the proposed IEP that takes place at the meeting. If you submit your concerns after the IEP is developed, then the team cannot discuss or consider your input and your ideas will not be incorporated into your child’s IEP. If we receive your statement after the IEP has been developed, that is no longer a parent concern statement for the IEP, it then becomes a parental response to the IEP. Those two statements are very different.

School Refusal/Avoidance

Boy, is this tricky to remediate! Although we see it at the younger grades, it is most prevalent and difficult for families when the students are in middle school or high school.

Lynn Lyons had a great, informative podcast on this topic this month. If your student is struggling with school avoidance or refusal, I highly recommend you listen.

School Avoidance: When It’s Anxiety Related, How Can You Help?


My commute to work isn't too long, but just long enough for me to listen to a few podcasts per week. I heard a very interesting podcast by Rich Roll. He had a guest named Dr. Lisa Damour. She spoke about a new book, The Emotional Lives of Teenagers. I enjoyed the episode so much that I looked up Lisa's podcast, Ask Lisa, and saw that she had so many great topics for parents on her podcast that I felt I wanted to share it with you. If you have teenagers in middle and high school, I highly recommend you take a listen.

Rich Roll Podcast Episode #748

Ask Lisa: The Psychology of Parenting

Special Education Parent Advisory Council (SEPAC)