Restaurant Training – Waiter & Waitress Training Tips For Customer Service – Hospitality Education

Did you know that approximately 14 percent of your customers will not return to your business because of food quality and 68 percent because of service quality? So, doesn’t it make sense to train your waiters and waitresses to deliver superior service to win your customers back every time?

To gain the competitive edge today, you have to do much more to place your restaurant on the “favorites” list. One way is through personalizing service for each type of customer that comes to your business. For example, selling and service techniques employed for a family with children are different from that which would be delivered to elderly customers. The same holds true for business customers versus vacationers. It is never safe to think that your restaurant service staff will inherently understand these differences. Unless trained, they are most likely to offer one size fits all service.

Teach your waiters and waitresses to be observant and follow the tips below to help assess the needs of your customers:

•Time limitation (leisurely or time restricted)

•Mood (celebratory, romantic, stressed)

•Age group (children, teenagers, baby boomers, seniors, geriatrics)

•Purpose for their visit (social, private/intimate, or business)

•Gender (male, female)

Since approximately 80 percent of communication is conveyed through facial gestures and verbal and non verbal body language, as opposed to the actual words, teach your service team to focus on the following areas:

•Verbal Language (voice tone, rate, inflection, speech, pronunciation, and grammar)

•Body Language (eye contact, facial expressions, gestures and movement)

Look for telltale signs of a customer in a rush such as looking at their watch, looking around or rubber necking, talking quickly, crossing their arms, or tapping their fingers. Also, closely observe your customers’ image (e.g. clothing, accessories, hair, makeup, etc.). This can also provide you with many clues about their dining needs.

Here is an exercise to share with your service team. It lists various types of customers and ways to customize service for each customer category. During a pre-shift meeting or company training session, review this exercise with your restaurant service staff.

Customer Types and Service Suggestions:

1. Celebrating

-Since celebrating customers usually have larger budgets, suggest higher priced items along with party-spirit foods/drinks and a cake to recognize the occasion

-Congratulate the celebrating customer and focus on their main event

-Be social unless serving a couple desiring privacy

2. Elderly

-Since many elderly customers are on a limited income, guide them towards value-oriented foods and recommend light, soft, and less spicy foods

-Be patient and speak slowly, project your voice, and listen carefully

-Refrain from acts which can be construed as condescending or treating them like children

3. Family (with children)

-Offer high chairs and booster seats

-Be prepared to make kid-favorite suggestions and easy to eat finger foods

-Offer something to occupy the child’s attention (game books, crayons, crackers)

-Be patient while the family orders and give the children the opportunity to place their order themselves

-Sincerely compliment the customer about their children

-Ask the child kid-friendly questions

-Place drinks where spills are less likely and remove obstacles (e.g. vases and centerpieces)

-Quickly clean spills and keep the area tidy

-Deliver extra napkins

4. Romantic Couple

-Guide the couple towards a booth or secluded area for privacy when seating them

-Suggest higher priced items along with wines, champagnes, and exotic desserts, since romantic couples and people on first-dates usually have larger budgets

-Deliver highly organized and efficient service

-Minimize your conversation and allow them privacy, without hovering over them

5. Business

-Suggest higher priced items, since many business people have business accounts and set allowances

-Suggest items that are prepared quickly and inform them if their selected order requires a long preparation, if they are on a business lunch

-Deliver highly organized and efficient service and ensure their order is delivered promptly

-Minimize your conversation and allow them privacy without hovering over them

Please Note: When serving alcohol, train your staff to be aware of the signs of intoxication and avoid overselling alcohol. Teach your staff to refuse alcohol sales to any minors.

Other customer types include customers dining alone (the solo customer), disabled customers, teenagers as customers, customers who are in a rush, first-time customers, and customers who dine in large groups/gatherings. Again, each different type of customer has “specific” service needs. Along with recognizing the category customers belong in, the above service suggestions are meant as recommendations and are not set in stone. Always, be sure to fully assess every dining customer by closely observing verbal and body language to determine how to positively interact with them. Mike Owens, General Manager of Brick Oven LLC, located in Topeka, Kansas, says, “Using the above examples in role-play scenarios is a highly effective method to properly train your service teams…it helps them fully understand the importance of tailoring their service versus delivering the same canned service to everyone.”

“Service” is not just about delivering food and drinks to the table-it is giving the customer much more than he/she expects. Implementing a solid training program that focuses on personalizing service will set you apart from your competitors. Exceeding the needs of each customer with customized service takes a little extra time. However, it is worth the effort. When the customer wins, everyone wins and it’s a triple play-more money for you, increased tips for your service staff, and happy customers that become loyal patrons and refer their friends to your business.

Four Tips for Multi-Team Early Childhood Assessments

School Psychology professionals and clinicians are often asked to complete multi-team assessments for early childhood and pre-kindergarten children. Here are four tips that may help professionals involved in multi-team early childhood assessments.

Tip One: A multi-team assessment can take many forms. Some school districts have the child go around to different clinician’s offices and they are tested or interviewed individually by the school psychologist, speech therapist, school nurse, special education teacher, general education teacher and other professionals if needed (such as the occupational therapist, physical therapist or vision and hearing specialist.). The clinicians then consult with each other after the family leaves the assessment offices. Other school districts may use a more play-based assessment system where the child is playing with other children and all the clinicians are watching the child at the same time. The clinicians can quickly share information and make determinations as to whether the child continues in the assessment and needs no further assessment, a screener or a full assessment.

Tip Two: Seek outside assistance if needed. Some clinicians just need more information than they get from a one time assessment. It may be necessary to obtain consent from the parent to contact outside agencies or organizations. This may include obtaining additional medical information, contacting preschools or day care programs the child is attending and social service or foster care agencies to get a better picture of the child. It may be necessary for the school psychologists and clinicians to make additional observations of the child as he or she interacts with same age peers in preschool. This outside assistance can help get a broader picture of how the child appears in different settings and situations.

Tip Three: Seek Parent or Guardian Input in the Multi-Team Assessment. Parents or guardians often know their young children best so it makes practical sense to collect as much information as possible from parents and caregivers. It is important to note that guardians can also have different perspectives about the child. The clinician or school psychologist can find similar factors that a parent or guardian reports, but the clinician can also note differences in reporting the results. Parents or guardians may not view the child in the same way so clinicians may have to share some unique or overlooked characteristics the child is presenting with in the assessment process.

Tip Four: Write Recommendations to Reflect Possible Changes in the Child. The clinicians and school psychologist may want to consider broad recommendations to understand the child may be making changes. Sometimes recommendations may include areas of the assessment where the child was inconsistent with task completion. It could be the child needs more practice to fully master a task or needs directions repeated to fully understand how to do an activity. There may also be inconsistencies in characteristics the child presents like limited eye contact that may need to be monitored or observed more as the child attends pre-school or participates in play activities.

The Best Kept Secrets to Making More Tips for Waiters, Bartenders, and Baristas

When it comes to a career in the service industry, no matter how short or long-lived, one of the most advantageous things you can learn to do ASAP is how to pull people’s emotional and unconscious heartstrings.

But before you think I’m some manipulative monster just trying to turn the world upside down to objectify patrons, guests, and customers for your own selfish, worldly gain- just hear me out.

If you plan on waiting tables, serving drinks, or tending bar, then you already know that the key to making money is in the extra stuff you do to stimulate all who cross your path and pull out their wallets to pay the check. Therefore, it becomes a must that you start to understand human psychology right away for not only your own benefit, but for the enjoyment of the guest as well.

There’s Nothing Selfish About Making More Tips

First, let’s get the idea that money is bad out of our heads. In these days and times of crony capitalism and rabid politicians talking out of both sides of their mouth about social programs, while selling out to big corporations to stay in office, the concept of having more as being a positive thing gets drowned out by all the social justice static.

You don’t think that’s by coincidence, do you? After all, what if most people bucked the elites attempting to program us all to accept less in life?

While the answer to that question is beyond the scope of this article, it’s important to accept that money is a means of exchange, and when people spend more, and tip more, they are merely exchanging value for value.

You provide value to a guest when you make their coffee taste great, bring that sizzling steak cooked to perfection on time to the table, and when you make that specialty cocktail that makes them do a backflip and believe that good times are here again.

When you “go the extra mile” (I know, it sounds terribly cliché), what you are doing is adding value to the guest experience, and believe it or not, most of the time humans will reciprocate more value when they perceive they themselves are receiving added value.

Examples of Adding Value to the Guest Experience

There are literally an infinite number of possibilities and ideas that you can come up with on your own to enhance the guest experience and wow them into pouring out their wallet as if they are anointing you as the new emperor of hospitality, but let’s drop a few solid ideas right here and now to get your own creative juices flowing.

1. Artistry is always appreciated.

I was once at a Starbucks in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, the 2nd biggest city on the island, walking across town and having a pretty abysmal day. When I ordered my drink that day, the young ladies working behind the counter were not only super nice and polite, but when I sat down upstairs to sip my beverage I noticed a drawing on the side of the cup.

Not only was it hilarious and heartwarming to me, it really made me appreciate the cultural experience of being a guy with a strangely massive beard in a land of scarce beards having his own self-portrait scribbled with a Sharpie on the side of a plastic cup of tea. Is this how they viewed me? I felt kind of like a zoo animal, but in a good way. The resemblance was uncanny, and I have to admit I will never forget it.

2. What’s in a name?

Finding a way to use a person’s name, whether audibly or by writing it on the guest’s check, is a great way to increase the psychological closeness the guest has with you, while at the same time without being too creepy.

As human beings with feelings, we all want to be validated, even in the smallest ways. For those of us who live in a large metropolis, we may not get the deep emotional connection that people in smaller towns who see each other regularly do.

That’s why when you can call someone by their name in a kind, loving and respectful manner, they will unconsciously feel more connected and special. The hardest part is finding out their name without being too obtrusive, but I knew servers who were good at this when I waited tables. I myself would get their name from their credit card, write their name with a smiley face saying a big “Thank you!”, and then usually try to drop the check and say their name and thank them.

I regularly got 18% – 20% tips just from my style of service, and I am a pretty introverted, procedurally-minded kind of guy at the restaurant.

3. Do you want fries with that?

The practice of fast food workers asking people if they’d like fries or to upsize has no doubt made people fatter, and corporate food chains wealthier, but there’s something we can learn from this.

When you ask a guest if they’d like to add something, often times they will say no, but imagine you work at a nice restaurant and they order a steak, and then you ask if they’d like it “Oscar style” i.e. topped with jumbo lump crab meat. Now you are giving them the opportunity to have more when perhaps they were unaware they could even have a steak topping, or maybe they were unsure and just needed that extra gentle push to overcome their inner objections.

Remember, most of us are creatures of habit, and while we want to try something new and improved, we may require a little encouragement from an outside source.

Be yourself, but if you’re having a bad day, be someone else.

“Be yourself” is fine if you are having a great day, but what about when your day is a disaster and you feel like a cup of warm dishwater?

It’s simple, you “fake it ’til you make it”. Remember, we all have bad days, but just like you don’t want to be the recipient of someone’s emotional venting just because you need to send a package at FedEx, the same goes for the person patronizing your place of work.

What can you do? It’s simple, try to forget you for a while. Stop thinking about your feelings and the problems in your life and focus simply on putting on a smile (even a forced one will eventually relax into a real one), and keep the guest’s experience your top priority.

If you really want to get creative, you can come up with an alter ego like “Sasha Fierce”, the concept Beyoncé uses before she performs at a concert or big show.

The last word on making more money as a bartender, waiter, or barista

It’s easy to assume that the most successful people are extroverts, naturally charismatic, charming, and lucky, and, to a large extent, that’s true.

But even if you are a naturally quiet, shy, introverted person like me, you can still find ways to make your guest feel special and cared for, and this will logically lead to more money for you as you continue to provide the very best service to everyone who walks through your establishment’s doors.

Good luck, and here’s to you making more tips!

Tips In Choosing Math Activities For Kindergarten

Education is an essential foundation needed by kids. With the right education, kids can create a wonderful future for them. In addition, kids can also obtain sufficient knowledge and skills to deal with numerous issues they may face. However, there are some kids who are experiencing problems with regard their education most especially math. Because of this, there are instances where kids do not want to go to school. So, it is important for parents to guide and motivate their kids in order to deal with their math dilemmas. And, one of the best ways is to enroll them in math activities for kindergarten.

As of now, there are numerous math activities you can choose from. But, it is important to choose properly and cautiously to ensure that you have chosen the right activity for your growing toddlers. In order to help you find the right activity, listed below are some tips you need to consider.

Know what your kids need

One of the first things parents need to consider when choosing math activities for kindergartens is to know what they need. Math lessons feature numerous formulas and solutions. Therefore, you need to know what you kids need to know before opting for an activity for them. By doing so, you can deal with this issue properly.

Look for interesting math activities

The next thing parents need to consider when finding the right activity for their kids is to look for interesting math activities. Math lessons have been feared by kids since they cannot understand it clearly. So, it is important to look for activities that can attract your kids. Not to mention, you need to make sure that these activities are fun and exciting for your kids.

Evaluate instructors

It is also best for parents to evaluate the instructors who handle these activities. Of course, you do not want to opt for instructors who cannot provide a wonderful activity for your child. In addition, evaluating the instructor can also help you determine if he can handle and teach your kids properly.

Choose the right institution

Finally, you need to find the right institution that can provide wonderful and numerous math activities for your child. Some reputable institutions even offer after class activities to help kids learn more to help them understand math easily and efficiently.

With these simple tips, parents can find the ideal math activity that can help their kids to become better in solving math problems.

Top Four Tips to Succeed in an Online Class

Enrollment in online education is at an all-time high. More students are going back to school to complete their degree or pursue higher education than ever before. Adult learners love online classes due to their convenience, flexibility, and cost savings. One of the main concerns a new student has is if they can handle an accelerated online class along with work and their family obligations. In this article we are going to discuss four tips to help a new online student succeed in a course.

First and foremost, make sure you have enough time set aside per week to complete your assignments. Many students are overwhelmed in their first couple of classes because they are not prepared. Students should ask their advisor how much time an average students spend per week in a class. If you are a new online student you should add 5-10 hours on top of that. Make sure to have a set schedule of when you will be studying and completing your assignments each week.

Second, students should have the support of their family and friends. Things will come up when you will have to ask for some help from loved ones. You may need a babysitter so you can concentrate on a big paper or just a friend to talk to. Make sure your family and friends know about your online classes and will support you throughout the program.

Before classes begin make sure to have all of the reading materials you need for the class. If you need to purchase a book, make sure you have it shipped well before the first day of class. If you need access to online lectures, videos, or articles make sure you know how to access them prior to the first day of class. Also, make sure you have all of the up to date computer software you need to be successful. If you have a MAC make sure the online course is compatible. If you have a PC make sure you have updated windows and Microsoft Office.

Once classes begin you should have easy access to important contact information. You want to be able to call or email your professor, academic advisor, and classmates. You also want the number to the IT helpdesk in case you experience any issues.

As you can see online courses are very popular but can be a very daunting experience if you are not prepared for them. Each class is a little different, but hopefully these tips help you along your journey.

20 Tips And Tricks To Teach Mathematics At The Primary Level

The primary Math education is a key determinant and I must say the very foundation of the computational and analytical abilities a student requires for a strong secondary education. It is the very base on which secondary education is built on. This is why it is mandatory that the teaching techniques and methods we employ as teachers and educators be of such rich quality that the development of a child with respect to his mathematical abilities be wholesome, practical and balanced.

Being a Math teacher is not easy. It is usually the favourite of a few and the nemesis of many. It has been observed that children mostly try to escape doing Math work. While there is a section of students who absolutely love mathematics enough to pursue a career in it, many students live in fear of it. Today we are going to give our teachers some helpful tips and tricks to make teaching math an enjoyable and interesting experience not only for the kids.

20 Tips and Tricks to Teach Mathematics at the Primary Level

  1. Ambience plays a very significant role. It is your responsibility to see that a classroom is properly ventilated with ambient light.
  2. Ensure that Mathematics class is neither before lunch break (when children concentrate more on the Tiffin than studies) nor the last period where students wait more for the bell to ring (not to mention start feeling sleepy!) Keep Math class when the children are active and fresh.
  3. Cultivate the students’ interest in Mathematics by letting them know about the power, structure and scope of the subject.
  4. Hold the students’ attentions from the get go! Introduce the topics with some fun facts, figures or interesting trivia
  5. Chalk out the lesson plan effectively keeping time and content allotment in mind
  6. Use audio and visual aids wherever possible
  7. Draw on the board if required (especially, lessons like geometry, shapes and symmetry)
  8. Call students to work on the blackboard (engagement of every child is necessary and not just a select few!)
  9. Ask for a student’s opinions and thoughts on concepts and mathematical ideas.
  10. Give them time to discuss important concepts and study the text of the chapter too before taking on the problems themselves.
  11. Teach more than one way or approach to solve a problem.
  12. Give regular homework exercises making sure that the questions are a mixed batch of easy, medium and difficult) Children should not feel hopeless. Easy problem questions evoke interest.
  13. Reward them! Whenever students perform well, be generous and offer them an incentive to continue working harder.
  14. Let children enjoy Mathematics and not fear it.
  15. Instill in them the practice to do mental math.
  16. Also, never give a lot of homework. Children are already burdened with assignments to work at home in almost all school subjects, it is thus your duty to make sure that the homework you delegate to them is fair sized or little. (This trick will inculcate in them the motivation to complete math homework first)
  17. Present challenging questions to students so as to develop their analytical and deduction abilities
  18. Keep taking regular tests to cement knowledge.
  19. Teach at a consistent pace. Do not rush with any topic. Before proceeding, be confident that the students are clear with the prior topics.
  20. Play games to create a fun filled classroom teach and learning experience.

TOP 5 Tips for Academic Success: How to Make the Most of Your Education for a Career in Healthcare

Careers in Healthcare are BOOMING right now. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, Healthcare will generate 3.2 million new wage and salary jobs between 2008 and 2018 (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2010). If you want to pursue a career in healthcare, you need an in-depth education.

Education is one of the most important, and necessary steps to the start a career in healthcare. In the healthcare industry your body of knowledge and clinical expertise is your skill set. It is the marketable asset that will use to land that dream position you desire. Unfortunately, sometimes I see healthcare students who do not know how to maximize their training for the most benefit.

I have spent several years in education. Throughout that time I have noticed that there are 5 consistent habits and/or traits that successful students demonstrate. The students who embrace these practices are more likely to succeed in their career path than others that do not. If you implement these practices in your education it will be richer, more dynamic, and much more valuable.

Here are the TOP 5 traits of successful healthcare students that separate them from the crowd:

1. They engage with their teachers- The instructors are there for a reason, use them! Ask questions when you do not understand something. By having your question answered immediately you are helping to develop a better understanding of that theory or concept. In addition, when the teacher asks a question of the class, answer it. Be involved with your instructor’s discussion. Open discussion, if guided by the instructor, can be a valuable method of learning. However, be careful not to monopolize a discussion, instead seek to add to it.

2. They collaborate with others- Teachers are not your only ally in your education. Your peers in class and other professionals in the field can also complement your training. Many of the successful students whom I see form study groups. These groups create a synergy of learning. They use each other’s strengths to help one another. Students strong in one area can help those that are weak. Furthermore, another aspect of the group is accountability. While making a commitment to study to yourself can be easily dismissed, making a commitment to a group of peers carries a sense of duty and is not so easy to break. Aside from your peers, do not hesitate to utilize those already in the field. Not only are they a plethora of knowledge they can also become an integral part of your network.

3. They study for the present but look to the future- While studying for your career in healthcare you will feel the need to focus on the present (the next practicum, the next exam, etc.). However, do not become shortsighted to your goals. Those students who are focused on their end game will not let any small setbacks deter them from moving forward. By knowing what you want down the road, you are more focused on what you need to do to get there. In effect, by knowing what is ahead of you, allows you to better prioritize the present.

4. Know your resources- Many schools offer numerous tools that students can utilize to help them succeed in their course of study. Several have libraries, workshops, tutoring, and coaching readily available for students. For example, our school offers Skills Boot Camps in which students can come in and work on their patient care skills after class in a casual environment. In addition, there is a workshop where they can come in and work on getting vital signs from patients with one of our Nurses, almost one on one. Numerous schools in today’s world have online resources of which the students can use to augment their classroom time and better understand the material. This can range from books online, to practice tests to even games. Discover the resources that your school has and USE THEM!

5. Show up!- This is the most important, if you do not show up you will not succeed, PERIOD. Be there every day ready to learn. Any time you miss out on a class you miss out on the knowledge. Finding yourself falling behind in class is never a good way to find success. Besides physically being there make sure that you are mentally there as well! Show up well rested and prepared so that you are in the optimal mindset to absorb that day’s material.

So there you have it, the top 5 tips for a successful start to your career in healthcare. These tips by and large, are the pillars of successful students. Use these pillars to build a great foundation, and you will find success. Good Luck!

Tips on Building Wealth – Education Is the Key

I attended a free financial education class conducted by one of the independent associates of the International Marketing Group here in Cebu. It was indeed very enriching. I felt all fired up with the mission to eradicate the problem of poverty in this country that I decided to write this article.

I actually learned a lot from the seminar but I can’t put it all in just one article. So, let me just share with you ideas that appealed to me the most. I hope you will also get fired up and join me in this crusade against poverty.

Based on statistical research, it has been predicted that a large number of Filipinos will face an increasing challenge with the future of their financial lives. Wanna know why? Well, let me tell you.

Four (4) Major Challenges of the Average Filipino

  • There is an uncertainty in the labor market. With the advancement of technology, more and more companies prefer to spend on automating their business operations.
  • Most Filipinos are living in high debts but their savings are low or none at all.
  • There is an extremely high cost of education. According to studies, college tuition fees in the Philippines double every six (6) years.
  • As the country is developing, the cost of living in the Philippines is also increasing. Prices of commodities go up more rapidly than a person’s regular wage.

Build Your Wealth Like You are Building A House

The Filipino is indeed facing a weary situation about his financial life in the future. Although some have already learned the value of saving for the rainy days but they have not yet mastered the art of building wealth. Many people are making this mistake. They become so excited about getting rich quick that they go right on to making an investment while neglecting the one thing necessary – a solid foundation.

Building wealth is just like building a house (or any architectural structure). You need to build a solid foundation in order for the house to stand strong. The taller the structure that you want to build, the deeper you need to dig for its foundation.

It is also the same with your wealth. If you want to secure your future, then you need to build a solid foundation for your wealth building. The International Marketing Group has a team of financial advisers who can teach you strategies on how to build this solid foundation for your wealth.

Education is the Key to Success

In everything that we do, there is always a learning curve. We do not get to be masters right away. We still need to study and learn how to do the work. Carpenters were not born with a hammer in their hands. Somebody taught them the skills of driving that hammer. In the same way, we also need financial advisers to teach us the right way to building our wealth.

4 Proactive Dragon Slaying Tips for IEP Meetings, to Empower Your Advocacy!

Are you the parent of a child with Autism, or another disability who receives special education services? Do you become overwhelmed during the IEP process, and would like to learn a few tips to help you? Are you tired of the lies and deceptions being told to you by special educators? Then this is the article for you—4 proactive advocacy tips (dragon slaying tips) to empower you in IEP meetings and afterward!

1. Try and see if you can have a friend or relative attend the meeting with you (bring someone who knows how to write fast and take good notes). This is for a couple of reasons: a. the person can take in-depth notes about what is being said and who is saying it, and b. the person can be a witness in the future, if a dispute develops between yourself and special education professionals.

2. Tape record the meeting so that you can listen to the tape after the meeting, and fill in your notes (in case you missed something). Also, CD’s of IEP meetings may be used in due process hearings (if allowed by your state).

3. Bring a written list of issues that need to be discussed (do not forget to add items from an independent educational evaluation (IEE). By the issue write yes or no and leave a little bit of space. This way you can document if the school agrees to provide the service or not, and jot down specific things that they say during the meeting (don’t forget to add who said it).

4. Write an IEP summary letter after the meeting (do not forget to date the letter and sign it also), documenting what happened during the meeting. You should include discussions not in the notes, special education professional’s attitudes, and specific comments made by staff (to include their names). I have begun doing this recently in my advocacy and find it very helpful because I can include things not in the IEP document that should be—-but now the letter is in the child’s educational record!

Recently at the end of a meeting one of the school staff said something that would help the parents in their quest for their son to receive scientifically research based reading instruction. I immediately grabbed a piece of paper and wrote down what was said and who said it (the mother gave me funny looks because she did not know what was said or that I was writing it down). In the IEP summary letter I put this information and I believe that it was helpful in my advocacy! When the school answered the letter, they never mentioned what was said, or denied that the educator said it, so I was home free! Always document when special education professionals say something that can support your advocacy!

Good luck—remember your child is depending on you!

4 Tips If Your Special Education Advocate is Banned From IEP Meetings

Are you a parent or advocate who helps children with autism or another disability, receive special education services? Have you been told that you can not attend IEP meetings with parents in a certain district? Would you like to learn a few tips on how to handle this situation? This article will give you 4 tips to use if this situation happens to you or an advocate that you work with.

The Individual with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) states that parents have the right to have people help them, who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the student. IDEA also states that parents have the right to be equal participants, in their child’s IEP process! If parents ask an advocate to come to a meeting with them, the advocate is to be considered an IEP team member.

OSEP agrees with this and issued a memorandum on January 15, 2004 clarifying an advocate’s role at an IEP meeting. It states that: Since the parent has invited the advocate to the IEP meeting, this person is considered to be an IEP team member and may assume an active role in the student’s IEP. Some advocates are being banned from student’s IEP meetings because they are considered divisive! Below are 4 Tips to use if this happens to you:

Tip 1: If your advocate is banned from an IEP meeting, send a letter to your school district asking for the state and federal law that allows them to do this. Attach to the letter any evidence that you have that the advocate was actually banned (Letter, E mail etc). Ask for a response within 10 days.

Tip 2: In the same letter, state that according to IDEA you have the right to have people at the IEP meeting that have knowledge or special expertise regarding your child. For Example: Your advocate has worked with your child for over a year and understands their needs, or has special training in the disability that your child has.

Tip 3: Also state that: IDEA requires school districts to develop an IEP for each child with a disability, with parents playing a significant role in this process. Also, that for you to do this you require the help of a qualified advocate!

Tip 4: Send a complaint to your state board of education stating that the school district is violating IDEA by banning your advocate from attending IEP meetings. The actual violations are:

A. School district is preventing you from having a person who has knowledge or special expertise on your child, at the IEP meeting.

B. School district is preventing you from being an equal participant, and playing a significant role in the IEP process.

C. School district cannot give you any specific state or federal law that states they have the right to ban certain advocates.

Parents have the right to bring the advocate of their choice to their child’s IEP meetings. School districts cannot ban an advocate from coming! If this happens to you, stand up to the special education personnel for the benefit of your child’s education.