We all know that in the world of special education, if it isn’t in writing, it may not have happened. As Special Ed Parents, we need to remember that all requests and responses need to be done via email or printed letter. Optimally, multiple people will be copied to help inform the team and to let others be aware of the parent’s perspective.
When the the school is confronted with not having followed proper laws, they will often change their story. This is why everything needs to be in writing. Even if you have a verbal conversation, you should follow up with an email stating, “Here is a summary of what we discussed. Please let me know if you any of this is inaccurate.” If it’s not in writing, they can deny it happened.
Every piece of correspondence should then go into your IEP Binder, organized in chronological order. If you do not have an IEP binder with all your paperwork, check out The Ultimate IEP Binder Tool Kit. It’s one of the essential tools for success in this arena.
One of the best resources for learning how to write letters is Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy. This book should be a cornerstone of your special education library has it has a lot of resources to help you make a case to the schools. It also has great advice on how to write a letter that gets results, as well as many templates for the most commonly needed letters.
Special Ed Letter Template Banks
If you don’t have the book, or it’s missing the template you need, the following websites have over 100 letter templates that you can use when communicating with the school:
- Illinois State Board of Education
- Education Law Advocates
- Michigan Advocacy Service
- Syracuse Parent Advocacy Center
Request an evaluation:
Request IEP meeting:
Request an Independent Evaluation (IEE):
Request Prior Written Notice (PWN):