The days before the first meeting of your child’s Admission, Review, and Dismissal Committee (ARDC) can be a little scary. Follow these tips to be better prepared and feel more confident:
1. Make sure the time and date work for you. You will serve as an equal decision-making partner on your child’s ARD committee, so your school district must notify you of an ARD meeting early enough to ensure that you have an opportunity to attend. You and the school must also agree on the time and place of the meeting. Be prepared to be an active member of the team. To learn more about how to be an active member of the ARD meeting, see Facilitated IEP Meetings developed by Education Service Center Region 13. Make sure you are on time to maximize your meeting success.
Contact the Child Find Coordinator to ask about opportunities to visit the school campus and meet staff.
2. Know your ARD Committee. If this is your first ARD, the school district Child Find coordinator or a campus contact will call you to review your child’s evaluation and set up the meeting. Ask for the names and contact information of the people the school district is sending to the meeting. It can be a good idea to email each of those people to introduce yourself and your child. If you have a one-page summary of your child, also send that information to each of your team members. Connecting with team members outside the formal meeting will make you feel more comfortable. Also see Who Is on Your Child’s ARD Committee.
Ask as many questions as possible outside of the ARD meeting in informal meetings or conversations with teachers and support staff.
3. Prepare your Child Info Toolkit and share it during the meeting. Take time to create your binder. This tool can help you feel empowered as a team member. Write down questions and concerns you want to discuss during the meeting. If you feel like your concerns haven’t been addressed, ask for more time, or a second meeting. Also see Make a Child Info Toolkit.
4. Bring someone who knows you and your child with you. This may be an outside therapist, a friend or neighbor, or a family member. It helps to have another person from your life in the room to support you. They can be an extra set of eyes and ears for you. Make sure the meeting coordinator knows who you will be bringing.
In other states, what we in Texas call the ARD Committee is known as the “IEP Team.” You may see the terms “ARD Committee,” “ARDC,” “ARD/IEP team,” or just “IEP team.” They are all the same.