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BATTLE PLAN SUMMARY
2) Determine your local laws regarding the recording of
telephone conversations and those in person. In Oregon you can tape telephone
calls with only one party's permission, but cannot legally tape meetings without
permission of the other party...you can however, occasionally take the pocket
tape recorder out of your pocket and speak into it eg. Memo to the file: IEP
Legal.... and record your own voice. Store all tapes in a safe, but easily
located place for future transcription and reference.
3) Make sure all correspondence is received by sending
certified with return receipt or by FAX for which your machine will document
receipt. Even with FAX transmissions, I always call up the school secretary and
pretend to be concerned "just to make sure you received all X number of
pages clearly". Then I write the name of the person, date and time of
verification directly on my file copy of the FAX and staple the transmission log
to it before filing. I also use a 3 hole punch and 3 ring binder to keep all
these papers together...much simpler for me than a file cabinet.
5) Use your MD to get whatever you want for your child.
Almost any educational accomodation also has a medical significance if only to
relieve the "stress" the child is under. MD's don't like to write
letters, so write the letters for the MD and have him/her sign them. Our
pediatrician (MD, PhD) takes what I have written, scans it into his computer and
reprints it on his letterhead.
2) Listen to what the other kids are saying about your
kid. A neighbor child came up to me and volunteered that he was concerned about
my daughter's feelings because the teachers and principal were putting their
hands up to their mouths, whispering and pointing whenever my daughter passed in
3) Observe the classroom set-up. Is your child seated
close to the chalkboard at your request, but with his/her back to it ? Mine was!
4) How does the teacher teach ? Does the teacher sit at
a desk or walk around the room when talking to the class ? Does the teacher make
eye contact or even notice the students who are not following along ? Perhaps
this teacher is not aware of the body language (restless, fidgeting) that is
communicating boredom...or that the student cannot follow ?
6) Observe the discipline....
7) Observe recess....is it active or sitting in a
8) Observe the medication process...is it accurate
(correct med/dose) and timely ?
9) Make a note of how many tablets of each med are left
at school and on what date (back to that calendar again). I have suspecions
about a school secretary with a weight problem and access to the ritalin...it
seems more than 30 tablets disappeared from one student's bottle in under a
week, but the school claims to not be responsible! The secretary kept claiming
the tablets were being dropped on the floor by the student necessitating a new,
clean tablet to be given.
10) Are the children given adequate time to eat their
meals ? Nutrition can really make a difference with behavior as well as
2) Ask questions....lots of questions ! eg. How do you
feel intervention x will meet our goal of y ? or...I don't understand how you
can justify using Ms. Z as a specialist on this team when she already told us
she has never dealt with diagnosis Q before...could you please explain? And
write down or record the answers.
3) Restate the really stupid stuff they say...Did I
hear you correctly when you said....? Could you have possibly meant...?
4) Practice "outs"... eg. I already have
something scheduled that day, let me see if I can cancel it and get back to you.
Given that time is of the essence, I think we should make part A effective
today, but I would like to research part B further, perhaps we could reconvene
next week ? I am not comfortable with that idea...is there any other way to
5) If you have a pager flip the switch to emit a sound
at the time you feel pressured and excuse yourself leaving the team with a
date/time to reconvene. Even a wristwatch and calendar will work...oops...I have
another appointment in 15 min...I appreciate your help, but it is clear we just
can't get it all done today...Can we meet again at X ?
6) You can also use the bathroom escape...I hope you'll
forgive me, but I must have had too much coffee this morning...I'll be right
back...then go to the restroom scream into the toilet paper if necessary, take 6
deep breaths and return with your best smile!!
7) On the edge of tears (remember your nutrition before
engaging in battle...more potassium will lessen teary potential)...excuse
yourself with the coffee thing...or that you're having trouble with a contact
lens...KEEP TISSUE WITH YOU! Be sure to excuse yourself BEFORE you become
a basket case.
8) Keep a smile on your face and make them wonder what
you've been up to!!
9) Take along another adult for
"support"...have them keep the meeting on track. Like one of our
readers said, don't let them focus on how the paper got lost, keep them focused
on the content of the paper.
10) Prepare yourself with lots of papers...and enough
copies for each member of the group (no excuse for them to delay with the copier
machine). Make sure these papers are authoritative in nature...some research in
addition to your correspondence is great.
11) Don't be afraid to have a mini agenda of the things
you want to discuss in that notebook...make sure each is covered and check them
12) Remember that you have the unique opportunity to
focus all of your energy on your children...while they have several hundred to
keep track of. You know your child best...and don't let them convince you
13) Strategic Withdrawal of Forces: "I don't
believe we are accomplishing anything productive and I do have other things to
attend to....Our next meeting is scheduled for....Who is going to take
responsibility to see that the promised reports are done ? Who is going to do
the psych testing? Who is responsible for the speech testing? ...etc."
Determine accountability and adjourn.