Tips for a Great Meeting

Attending a school meeting can be intimidating and many parents worry about what is going to happen at the meeting. The following tips for a great meeting come from other parents of children with special education needs and may help you at your next meeting.

  • Start on a positive note – share a positive story about your child.
  • Use humour to build a positive and productive atmosphere.
  • Exhibit positive body language – smile, shake hands and maintain eye contact.
  • Be assertive and stay calm – make requests rather than demands.
  • Come prepared to the meeting – makes notes and organize your ideas to help explain yourself clearly.
  • Use the “I” messages – “I noticed …., I am concerned about….”
  • Demonstrate cooperation – stress ‘We’, What can we do?
  • Offer suggestions when you can – ask open ended questions and avoid interrogating school staff.
  • Use “what, when? where? questions, or how? and why?” for more in-depth probing.
  • When determining the seriousness of the problem, ask how often it has occurred.
  • Listen carefully – repeat back what you heard for confirmation, or ask questions for clarification.
  • Emphasize your child’s strengths.
  • Share strategies that work at home.
  • Decide on a plan or future action – Who does what, when?
  • Ask when you can meet again to review progress.
  • Say thank you as you leave.

After the meeting, send a thank you note, with a summary of key points and the action plan. This creates a record of what you heard and what you are expecting to happen next.

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