Parents Guide to ARD Meetings
The information presented on this page is intended to help parents prepare for and be more effective in ARD meetings. While this information is pertinent to most situations it may not always apply in every individual circumstance. As the parent you should decide if it applies in the case of your child. We hope you find the information below to be useful as you prepare for your child's next ARD meeting.
How can parents prepare for an ARD meeting?
You may find it helpful to prepare for the meeting by writing out notes to take to the meeting. It may be useful to include the following:
- a list of topics you would like to see included in the meeting
- what you want to see accomplished and what you believe your child wants
- realistic goals for your child, for the school year and for the future
- a statement on any area that might be giving you concern
If English is not your first language, you may wish to bring someone who could assist you in communicating your concerns or who could take notes or talk to you about impressions of the meeting afterwards. You may also call the school and request an interpreter.
- Make sure you are introduced to everyone present and that you know what each member can contribute to your child's educational program.
- Know the purpose of the meeting and what the team expects as a result of the meeting.
- Be aware of the meeting's time constraints.
- Ask who is responsible for keeping a record of the meeting and request a copy of the record.
- Recognize that children often react differently in different circumstances. Your child's behavior at home may be different than at school.
- Share your concerns directly and openly share information that might help in planning for your child.
- If you don't understand something, ask for clarification.
- If you need time to reflect or to collect more information on a topic, ask to have that discussion postponed.
- Summarize the meeting, from your perspective, aloud to the other members.
- Know when the next meeting will be and what steps will take place before then.
- Remember: Everyone is meeting to plan what is in the best interest of your child.
What are the key issues in an ARD meeting from a parent's perspective?
As the meeting concludes, you will find it helpful to ensure that there is a common understanding in these areas:
- The name of the key person responsible for the implementation of the IEP and record keeping needs to be clear.
- The goals in the IEP are practical, realistic and clearly stated, including program options and extra-curricular opportunities, and who is responsible for each goal.
- The IEP for you child is fully understood and supported by those involved, including your child. (This can be particularly critical in secondary school where a number of teachers are involved, and students may have significant autonomy.)
- All the resources suggested in the ARD are indeed available.
- The method for evaluating your child's progress and the person or persons responsible for the evaluation have been clearly decided.
- A date has been set to review your child's IEP
How can parents help their children in the ARD process?
A key role for parents is to set out clearly for their child what their own responsibilities are in the ARD process. The extent of responsibilities will naturally depend on your child's age and type of special need, but you can help them to understand that the process will only work if they take an interest in making it work. This message can most effectively be transmitted to them by seeking their ideas and help in the process, and making them feel important and valued.
A child's intellectual progress depends to a large extent on personal and social development, self esteem and the ability to work cooperatively and communicate effectively. To support this social development, parents can help their child achieve their goals in several ways.
Encouraging interaction between you child and schoolmates in a variety of ways and structuring activities to encourage friendship with other children.
- Encouraging interaction between you child and schoolmates in a variety of ways and structuring activities to encourage friendship with other children.
- Keeping in touch with teachers in the classroom.
- Watching for activities that will give your child opportunities to work towards their personal goals.
How can parents help the school support their children?
The more that parents, teachers, school administrators and resource personnel work together in open communication and cooperation, the more successful the child's education will be. Parents can help by doing several things:
- Provide learning experiences in everyday life that will reinforce the formal learning taking place in the school system.
- Talk with your child about school, discussing both learning and social activities.
- Support the teacher's expectations and the classroom routines and expectations by reinforcing such behavior at home.
- Communicate regularly with teachers, particularly if there is concern about your child's progress.
- Participate in the parent volunteer program at the school by offering assistance with school activities.