If your child has special needs, you have likely looked into how they will affect your child as he or she progresses in school. When your child’s needs were first discovered, you no doubt began advocating for his or her education right away. But if you are new to the process, you might not be familiar with every aspect of how schools and families work together to make decisions related to special education services for your child. One of the first steps in the process is attending an admission, review, and dismissal meeting for your child.
An admission, review, and dismissal meeting, or ARD meeting, is a gathering of people who help to determine student eligibility for special education services and develop a plan of action for eligible students. The ARD committee or team usually includes a general education teacher, a special education teacher, at least one school district representative such as the school principal, parents, and the student (when appropriate), as well as anyone else invited by parents, the school, or the district who is believed to have information about the child that would add value to the discussion. The ARD team members use their expertise in the fields of education and child development, along with information and observations they may have made and the same directly from parents, to write an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for the student that includes the full program of services that will be implemented to help the student. Each school district is going to have its own ARD meeting requirements.
An ARD meeting is held to determine the initial placement of a child into a special education program, as well as at any other time school staff or parents deem necessary to reassess student needs. At each ARD meeting, the student’s IEP can be reviewed to discuss what strategies and accommodations are working and if any changes need to be made. (Note: ARD meetings are required to be held at least once per year.) During the meetings, parents have the right to ask questions regarding the program and its impact on their child. Parents can prepare in advance for the ARD meeting to talk about their child’s needs; they should be ready to share personal knowledge of their child, both in terms of academics and life skills. If possible, they should also provide copies of any academic test results, psychological assessments, and/or medical reports if there are any findings that could help determine specific services that could be helpful to their child. And they should also have a list of strategies and accommodations that work for their child at home.
For further information regarding ARD meetings in Texas, please check out the following resources:
- Purpose of the ARD Meeting
- ARD Committee Meeting – SPEDTex
- What is an ARD and Other Special Education Questions Answered
- THE ARD COMMITTEE AND YOUR CHILD’S IEP
- Parent’s Guide to the Admission, Review, and Dismissal Process
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