Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Helping Special Needs Parents Stay Organized

I am very fortunate to work in a school with very supportive parents. If a child is in need of something, the parents are on top of it right away, which helps not only the child, but me as the child's teacher.

A few weeks ago I was thinking about how I can return the favor and help them out. How can I support them as special needs parents? So I created a Parent IEP Binder.
My thought behind this all-inclusive binder was, "Hey, I have a caseload binder... my students have individual binders... I am sure that parents would benefit from having a binder too!" The complete IEP Binder for parents is a simple, effective organizational tool to keep all of a child's important IEP information in one, organized place.

As the most important advocate for a child, they too know how overwhelming all of the paperwork and special education jargon can be. Parents no longer need to feel stressed about a meeting, because they'll have all they need in one systematic place. The parents can fully concentrate on the meeting, making the meeting more meaningful to both the parent, the child, and the IEP Team.
I honestly think that a special needs parent deals with more paperwork than any special education teacher does. They go to doctors appointments, outside therapies, and well they are the parent of a child with special needs. No one knows a student better than the parent does. 

Not only are there places to keep track of a child's most up-to-date IEP information, it includes editable tabs for them to individual the binder to their specific needs.
The binder gives suggestions for accommodations and modifications, as well as a reminder of what each is. They can keep track of evaluation timelines and IEP due dates, as well as literally everything else that comes with special education services.
It comes with a support system that matches nothing else too.

Not only does it help them keep school information organized, but all outside paperwork organized in one place. This is great for IEP meetings too, because sometimes a parent has found success with something outside of school that the school may need assistance with. If a parent has their binder with them, they can easily flip through the binder to give direct supports to the school.
And let's not even get started on acronyms. As a special education teacher, acronyms stress me out a little bit because there are so. many. letters. We can honestly hold conversations in letters, so I know that parents must feel very overwhelmed when we throw out those acronyms in an IEP or ARD meeting.

This list of Special Ed Acronyms Every Parent Should Know was shared in a previous blog post, so don't forget to grab the free list there.

Suggestions for Parent IEP Binder implementation:
• Create a very small parent IEP binder and hand it out to all of your parents at the beginning of the school year.
• Let parents know that there is support out there for them. Point them in the direction of this binder so they can (or not) put this binder together to get organized.
How do you support your special needs parents?


  1. I love this parent binder! Especially the acronyms page! So many parents would love this in my classroom!

  2. This is brilliant and considerate and one of the best things I've ever seen!!!!!