In the wake of the Netflix show on Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, everyone is on a hunt to cut out what doesn’t spark joy.  I, for one, have made more trips to Goodwill than I can count in the pursuit of simplifying my life! But what does this have to do with IEP season??? The basic premise of Kondo’s book is that ORGANIZATION makes our lives more manageable and therefore, more enjoyable.

The first step in getting ready for IEP season – evaluations, reevaluations, and progress report meetings – is getting organized. Of course, we don’t dispose of important documentation; however, a clear review of what you need and organizing all of your documentation in a simple system will aid greatly as you prepare for your communications with school personnel.

One way to get organized is creating an IEP Binder. There are three steps in this process: gather, create, and review. First, gather together any documentation from previous meetings, print out any email communications, and even gather handwritten notes. Determine whether you prefer a digital or printed version of this idea. Keep in mind, though, that if you’d prefer digital, you’ll need to scan any documents for which you don’t already have hard copies.

Once you’ve gathered everything together, take a look over what you have and choose how to sort everything. Some choose to organize topically while others choose to organize chronologically. The important thing is to choose what is simplest for you – if a system is too complicated, you’re much less likely to keep up with it.

Keep in mind that this task is not simply a matter of getting organized. As you’re organizing, review everything briefly. That way, time spent in organizing and getting ready, you’re also prepping for your meeting. The more familiar you are with your documentation, the better you can advocate for your child. If this process seems overwhelming, let FES help! Call us at 610-457-2199 for more information about our advocacy services. You can also email us!