504 Team: Connection and Collaboration
We’ve talked about conflict with IEP teams, and a 504 plan team is no different. From time to time, the 504 team may have disagreements, but they don’t have to be combative. Collaboration is the key.
As a parent it’s up to you to take the lead on this, and it starts with your attitude. Assume all team members want what is right for your child, even if you disagree on what “right” is. Also, frequently use your child’s name in the meeting, to keep the meeting focused on him or her.
Always remember to:
- Respect: Respect that the team has years of expertise and also sees your child in a different environment than you, where he or she may act completely differently than at home.
- Expect – Expect that some things you say or do may trigger a defensive response, even if you are completely in your rights. Bring data and evidence to support your opinions and wishes.
- Project – Project confidence. Think of all you’ve done to prepare for this. You are your child’s strongest advocate so remember to make an effort to remain positive and polite but hold firm to your non-negotiables.
Make sure the focus stays on your child and his or her disability. Because the 504 plan is about providing access to learning, the discussion should be limited to that. Push the 504 plan team to think about specific challenges your child faces due to the disability. Then, design supports to help your child with each challenge.
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