IEP Answers - Dana Stahl, M.Ed.

Dana Stahl, M.Ed.
Educational Alternatives LLC
Average: 4 (1 vote)


Liz Weaver:          Hello and welcome to IEP answers. I'm Liz Weaver of Learning Success and I'll be your host for this exciting video series. IEP answer is an initiative to help you understand individualized education plans otherwise known as IEP and this video series you will hear from educational professionals and parents alike giving you a well-rounded perspective from a variety of viewpoints. This information will help you determine if an IEP is needed at all and if so, how to work with the school to design an IEP that is scaffolding to building a better student rather than a crutch for them to lean on. In today's video, we have Dana Stall, ME.D. She has 35 years of experience as an educational consultant, diagnostician child, parent advocate, and learning specialist. She has worked with families, educators, psychologists and service providers to help identify learning issues in children and to provide the assistance or resources and guidance needed to address those issues.

Liz Weaver:          Her recently published book, The ABCs of learning issues is critically claimed and has been featured in Chicago, parent La Parent, Midwest Book Review, Education Update Online, and special needs book review. She has also been honored by receiving the parent and teacher choice award and the winner of a national parenting product awards. Her practice educational alternatives focus on educational advice, advocacy, and school placements. For more information, you can visit her website, Dana's video is about helping parents develop a skillset to bridge the home-school gap, create an open line of communication and understanding educational terminology, which is really important. So let's take a watch.

Dana Stahl:          The ABCs of learning issues is a guide you help parents successfully partner with their school. Today I am going to review several tips for parents that will help to develop a skillset to effectively partner with their child's school by bridging the home school gap by creating an open line of communication through learning how to prepare for parent-teacher meetings, by building working relationships and acquiring an understanding of educational terminology. Parents will be able to create an ongoing dialogue to help their children reach their full potential. My name is Dana stall and I am a learning specialist and an educational consultant who worked with children with learning attention and anxiety issue for the past 35 years. Although parents understand their child profiles better than anyone, they often do not understand how to effectively advocate for their children in school.

Dana Stahl:          Being in a formed parent means that you understand your child's profile and that you keep a paper trail of conversations in meetings and tests, report card transcripts, homeschool communication and IEP meetings so that you have a record of your child's academic social-emotional history from one school year to the next. It is important to be an informed parent when you bring to the table information about your child and the journey that they have embarked upon in school. It is also important to build a working relationship and to know who is on your team. Remember how to team meeting parents have an equal voice. There are many people who gather around the table at your parent-teacher meetings and a committee of special education meetings and they can include general education teachers, special education teachers, the school district representative, a parent representative, school psychologist, and a translator if necessary. It is important to maintain an open line of communication with teachers, a service provider of the school principal. Be Mindful and curious and ask questions and document the answers of your child's level of academic performance, class participation, social, emotional behavior and attention.

Dana Stahl:          It is important to maintain regular communication. What do I mean by regular? Regular means different things if it involves bullying or social-emotional concern, communication will need to be frequent. If there is an academic concern, communication will depend upon the severity. If you have concerns, ask the following questions. Is my daughter participating in class? Is she engaged in lecture and on assigned tasks? What are my child's strongest and weakest subjects? Regardless of the reason for your parent-teacher meetings, parents need to end all conversations with when should we meet again to discuss my concern and to update my child's progress and performance.

Dana Stahl:          Learn educational terminology. Every industry has its own language. It is imperative that parents learn the language of education in order to maintain an ongoing dialogue with your child's teachers and to effectively partner with their schools. Learn the terms that are used on a daily basis in school are contained in your child's five oh four and IEP plans and help to facilitate and maintain homeschool communication. Understand your rights under federal laws. Know your rights. Sapped stands for free and appropriate public education and is available to children three to 21 who have learning and attention issues. Ida stands for individuals with disabilities education act and is tailored to meet individual needs.

Dana Stahl:          Remain calm and carry on as a universal saying, but for parents, at a school meeting, it is essential even if the conversation takes a new direction that does not cover your bullet points. Commonly redirected to discuss your questions and concerns in preparation for your parent-teacher conference. Write a list of your questions and concern. This preparation will make the meetings more productive and lead to more informed outcomes. Be sure to leave the meeting with a follow-up plan. Do not sign an IEP until you are comfortable with what it states and you're in agreement with the proposed comment foundation and intervention.

Dana Stahl:          A parent who I recently am working with in preparation for her meeting, I did prepare for questions and concerns but once at the meeting she said, I did not ask for additional accommodations. At this point, I more or less wanted to hear what her teachers and support staff had to say. I was very pleased to hear the progress Leah is making and that they are enjoying working with her lieth mother with not comfortable asking for things without sounding completely confident as this is not her area of expertise. She said I felt like I was winning simply because I didn't cry at this meeting. For parents who need support, please bring a friend, an advocate or someone in the field of education to sit beside you and be there to support you. It is important to remain calm and carry on.

Dana Stahl:          It's also important to talk to your child. Children rarely tell us specific information about their school day. Ask Your children if they are receiving services or specified accommodation and intervention. Depending upon their age, it may be appropriate to ask them if they are finding these services and accommodations to help teach your children educational phrases and statements that help to promote self-advocacy. It is important to understand the difference between a 504 plan and an IEP whether your child will benefit from a 504 plan or requires an IEP. Parents need to understand the difference between the two the services that children are entitled to and a contact person with whom you can ask. Follow up questions.

Dana Stahl:          504 plans do not require specific diagnoses and our services that are provided through building-level support. Five oh four plans provide building-level support to assist children in bridging the gap in their academic performance. This plan allows for support for children with learning attention and anxiety issues who meet certain criteria. The five Oh four plan is put into place to remove barriers and learning with 504 plans. Students stay within the general education setting and participate in the general education curriculum, support personnel. And other professionals bring any necessary material to the classroom and work directly with identified students in that setting. For parents whose children have five oh four plans, request a copy of your child, 504 take this plan to your parent-teacher conferences. Ask for clarification of any terms you hear during your meetings. You have a right to understand every detail of the decision.

Dana Stahl:          Make sure the plan is complete and specific. Find out who is responsible for implementing this plan. Request a special team meeting if you are not satisfied with the results of your parent meeting and the implementation of the 504 plan. Ask who is the contact person. If you have any questions or concerns, an IEP or individualized education. Plan it to plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability that is identified under the law received specialized instruction and related services. Children who require modifications to their curriculum will have an IEP and not 504 plan for parents whose children have IEP. Understand the goals and objectives dated in your child's IEP. Identify how your child will be assessed according to grade level. No. Who will work on what with your child? How, when, where, how often the specified accommodations and intervention look like in the classroom. Learn this language of special education by developing a dialogue, using a common terminology and ask who is the contact person. If you have questions or concerns.

Dana Stahl:          Parents, it is important to understand that educators, service providers, and school administrators and you're in the field of education to help children feel successful. Parents who are able to ask for help in supporting their children in a disarming manner let the school know that you understand that they are the professionals who want to help guide, assist, and work with your children to achieve common goals. By taking these steps, parents will find building-level support in meeting these goals. The homeschool partnership is essential to your children, to academic and social-emotional growth. By working together, your children will feel supported at school and at home and we'll find strategies in which to succeed. Remember, as parents, you are your child's best advocate.

Liz Weaver:          Thanks, Dana. That was really great information. Today's video has been part of the IEP answers initiative and initiative to educate parents about IEP from a variety of viewpoints. We've created this because this is an important subject that so many parents need to understand. Please make sure to share the video and use the Hashtag IEP answers so we can find you on social media. If you would like to be part of IEP answer's initiative and share your story or your expertise on the subject, you can get in touch with us by using the contact form and put IEP answers in the subject line. Thank you for watching today and taking the time in case no one else has told you. You are an amazing parent. I appreciate you for showing up and doing the work it takes to embrace her child's brilliance and unleash their potential. I'm Liz weaver from learning success and I'll see you in tomorrow's video.


For the past 35 years Dana Stahl, M.Ed., an educational consultant, diagnostician, child-parent advocate, and learning specialist, has worked with families, educators, psychologists, and service providers to help identify learning issues in children and to provide the assistance, resources, and guidance needed to address these issues.

Her recently published book, The ABCs of Learning Issues, is critically acclaimed and has been featured in Chicago Parent L.A. Parent, Midwest Book Review, Education Update Online, and Special Needs Book Review, and honored by receiving the Parent and Teacher Choice Award and the winner of the NAPPA Award (National Parenting Product Awards).

Her practice, Educational Alternatives LLC, focuses on educational advise, advocacy and school placements. For more information, please visit her website: