Why can it be helpful to bring me with you to the meeting? The answer is primarily because it is often difficult to write an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for some students and I will support you through the process. Planning may be particularly complicated for the child with a reading disability (dyslexia), who could also have language processing deficits, memory problems, attentional difficulty, a weakness in phonological awareness, poor fine motor skills, and trouble with executive functioning, for example. In addition to providing instruction to remediate the difficulties, accommodations are often necessary and sometimes the curriculum needs to be modified. Because I evaluated your child and know his or her needs, have experience working with children like yours, and am knowledgeable about the federal and state regulations, I can be invaluable to you. I can refine and elaborate on other people's ideas so that they address your child more directly, add my own suggestions about approaches and materials, recommend classroom accommodations or curriculum modifications, and offer opinions about what is likely to work and not work in this case. Drawing on my knowledge of educational research and practice, your child, and the regulations, I can help write clear and efficient goals and objectives with ways to evaluate the objectives that will show concisely what your child has and has not learned at that point so that he or she can move forward from the current level of performance. Finally, I can help establish a complex program that minimizes the fragmentation of your child's day.
Does the presence of an evaluator at the meeting mean you will always get the results you want? No, not always. Sometimes what you want may not be designated by law. Other times what you want may lie in a gray area or it may be designated but the school still may not agree. In that case you might consider the services of an advocate or attorney, or both. However, when the issues are addressed in a positive way there is usually a way to resolve them.