With social distancing orders in place worldwide, the move to digital platforms has become the norm for so many today. From virtual classrooms to work from home schedules and even televisits with doctors, the shutdowns that resulted from the Coronavirus pandemic changed so many things.
As a parent with a child requiring special education, you may now be meeting with clinicians and even therapists virtually throughout the week. These sessions are conducted using video conferencing platforms and other immersive technologies that help you interact face-to-face while maintaining total physical distance.
You may also have the option to use a phone to dial into the call, but if you can choose the video sessions, you will have more options for interacting and seeing visuals, much like the benefits of an in-person meeting.
If you have a remote IEP (Individualized Education Progam) meeting scheduled, here are a few things you should do to be prepared for the new virtual interaction.
Assess All Technologies
If you haven’t already, or if using the Internet and computer isn’t common for you, you should take some time in advance to check that your system is up and running before the IEP meeting. Start by turning it on, ensuring you can launch an Internet browser and that the signal is strong. Websites you navigate to should load quickly. Video sessions require strong bandwidth, so it’s a good idea to have a test video chat with a friend to be sure the quality is great and that you can see and hear participants. Take this time to perform any system updates or purchase any necessary equipment to make your computer, phone, or iPad comfortable to sit in front of and easy to use effectively during these sessions.
Choose a Quiet, Bright Location
If you’re not using a large stationary desktop computer or set-up, you have some options to improve your call simply by moving to a more quiet area of the home. Distracting background noise and activity can create an issue as you work through the important details of your child’s education plan. You should also place the device in a well-lit area with natural lighting so participants can see you.
Prepare in Advance
In addition to getting the hardware ready for a remote IEP, it’s also vital that you prepare in advance by confirming the meeting date and correct calendar invite. You should be sure the invite includes the meeting link you will use for the day of the IEP meeting. Since you will not be at the meeting in person, you will likely also be provided with digital files of the documents discussed in advance. Be sure to request a copy of the draft IEP if it was not shared. You may also request that a screen share option is used during the meeting so that your child’s school documents are cast on the computer screen for everyone to follow along with at the same time.
Remember, your child’s IEP is intended to create a plan that works to advance their education. Your input and participation are essential in this process. Knowing what questions to ask and being ready with demands is always important. This time the meeting will be happening from the other side of a computer screen, so preparation is key. Keep a list next to you so you will be ready to share your feedback or speak up if new recommendations have been made.
All Children Learn offers a searchable library of terms and definitions, questions, and answers so you can prepare and research. Download templates and checklists, read our blog, or contact us directly for help!