Guidelines for a Successful Special Education ARD Meeting

by Mary Jenkins  - April 30, 2023

Guidelines for a Successful Special Education ARD Meeting

If you are the parent of a child with special needs, you know that navigating the special education system can be daunting. There are so many acronyms and specialized terms that it can be hard to know where to start. One of the most important steps in getting your child the right services are attending an ARD meeting. In this blog post, we will provide you with some guidelines for a successful ARD meeting.

Key Takeaways

  • The ARD meeting is a meeting between school district personnel and the parents or guardians of a child with special needs, in which all decisions regarding the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) are made. 
  • The purpose of the ARD meeting is to ensure that the student’s educational needs and services are being met. 
  • In attendance at an ARD meeting, there will be representatives from the school district, as well as the child’s parents or guardians. Also present at the meeting will be any professionals who are currently working with the child, such as teachers, counselors, and therapists. 
  • The ARD meeting is chaired by an impartial facilitator who helps to ensure that all voices are heard and that all decisions are made in the best interest of the child. All decisions made at an ARD Meeting are legally binding. 
  • Prior to attending an ARD Meeting it is important for parents to be informed and prepared by: gathering relevant information; writing down goals for the meeting; inviting relevant professionals; taking notes during the meeting; and asking questions if anything is unclear

What is an ARD Meeting?

An ARD meeting, also known as an Admission, Review, and Dismissal meeting, is a meeting between school district personnel and the parents or guardians of a child with special needs, in which all decisions regarding the student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) are made.

Guidelines for a Successful Special Education ARD Meeting 1 May 2024

The purpose of the ARD meeting is to ensure that the student’s educational needs and services are being met. In attendance at an ARD meeting, there will be representatives from the school district, as well as the child’s parents or guardians. Also present at the meeting will be any professionals who are currently working with the child, such as teachers, counselors, and therapists.

The ARD meeting is chaired by an impartial facilitator, who helps to ensure that all voices are heard and that all decisions are made in the best interest of the child. All decisions made at an ARD meeting are legally binding, and it is important to make sure that everyone involved is in agreement before moving forward.

5 Tips for Preparing for the ARD Meeting

Prior to attending an ARD meeting, it is important for parents to be informed and prepared. You should know your child’s strengths, weaknesses, and current level of functioning. It is also beneficial to review past IEPs and any other documents that are relevant to the meeting. Here are five tips for preparing for an ARD meeting:

Gather all relevant information

As the parent or guardian of a child with special needs, you may feel overwhelmed by the challenges of advocating for your child. However, it is important to remember that you are your child’s best advocate. One of the most important things you can do is to gather all relevant information before meeting with educators or other professionals. This includes medical records, evaluations, notes from teachers and therapists, as well as any other information that may be relevant to the meeting.

Guidelines for a Successful Special Education ARD Meeting 3 May 2024

By being prepared and armed with this information, you will be in a much better position to advocate for your child’s needs. In addition, you may also want to consider bringing along a support person to the meeting, such as a family member or friend. This can provide both moral support and an extra set of ears to help take in all of the information. While advocating for a child with special needs can be daunting, remember that you are not alone. There are many resources available to help you every step of the way.

Write down your goals for the meeting

When you attend an ARD meeting, it is important to have specific goals in mind. What do you want to accomplish? What do you hope to learn? By taking the time to answer these questions beforehand, you can ensure that the meeting is productive and informative.

Guidelines for a Successful Special Education ARD Meeting 5 May 2024

Of course, your goals may change as the meeting progresses, but having a general direction will help to keep the discussion on track. In addition, your goals should be realistic and achievable. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by setting unrealistic expectations. With clear and attainable goals, you can make the most of your ARD meeting and get the information you need.

Invite any professionals that are relevant to the meeting

When it comes time to plan an IEP team meeting, be sure to extend an invitation to any professionals who are relevant to your child’s education and care. This may include therapists, teachers, or other specialists who work with your child on a regular basis. Having an extra set of eyes and ears in attendance can help ensure that all decisions made are in the best interest of your child.

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Additionally, the professional may have valuable insights or suggestions to contribute to the meeting. So be sure to include them in the planning process to ensure that all voices are heard and that the best possible decisions are made for your child’s education.

Take notes during the meeting

It is important to take notes during the ARD meeting for a few reasons. First, it can be difficult to remember everything that is discussed during a meeting that covers such a broad range of topics.

Second, taking notes gives you a record of the discussion that can be invaluable when making decisions about your child’s future.

Guidelines for a Successful Special Education ARD Meeting 9 May 2024

Finally, notes can also be helpful in communicating with other members of your child’s team, such as teachers or therapists. By taking thoughtful and comprehensive notes, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and working together to provide your child with the best possible education and support.

Ask questions if anything is unclear

It is important to ask questions if anything is unclear during an ARD meeting. The ARD facilitator should be able to answer any questions you have and help ensure that everyone in the ARD committee is on the same page. By asking questions, you can help to clarify the purpose of the meeting and make sure that all stakeholders are working towards the same goal.

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In addition, asking questions can also help to build rapport and trust among the members of the team. Asking questions shows that you are interested in the discussion and that you value the input of others. So next time you’re in an ARD meeting, don’t be afraid to speak up if you’re unsure about something – chances are, someone else is probably wondering the same thing.

Things to Know Before You Go

Attending an ARD meeting can be intimidating and overwhelming, but with the right preparation, you can ensure that it is a successful experience. Before attending the meeting, make sure to review all relevant documents and gather any information that may be pertinent to the discussion. It is also important to know your rights as a parent or guardian of a special needs child and to be aware of all the services that may be available to your child. Finally, make sure to take notes during the meeting and ask any questions you have if something is unclear. Following these guidelines will help ensure that your ARD meeting is successful. Good luck!

About Above and Beyond Caring

Above and Beyond Caring has been a Texas HCS provider since 2007, serving the needs of individuals with IDD in the Brazoria and Galveston county areas. We provide a full range of services, including residential living, employment support, day habilitation, and behavior management. Our team is dedicated to providing the highest level of care and services possible for each and every individual we serve.

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If you would like to learn more about the services that Above and Beyond Caring offers or have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us at (979) 202-0055.

About Mary Jenkins

Mary Jenkins has over 25 years experience helping individuals with IDD live and thrive in their community. She founded Above and Beyond Caring in 2007 to provide Texas HCS services in the Texas Gulf Coast area. She is also the Director of the Community Inclusion Project, a 501c3 nonprofit dedicated to ensuring all individuals have access to their community. She is passionate about her work and believes that everyone deserves the opportunity to be a part of, and contribute to, the world around them. Mary is a tireless advocate who is passionate about helping individuals with IDD live fuller, more meaningful lives.

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