1. Find allies in any given situation.
  2. Keep complete and accurate records.
  3. Ask questions until you understand.
  4. Be available.
  5. Assume honorable intentions.
  6. If you make a promise, keep it.
  7. Share information, ideas, strategies, concerns, and personal experiences.
  8. Don’t assume the other person knows what you need. Tell them.
  9. Be on time for meetings and stay for the entire meeting.
  10. If more information is needed, make a plan on how to get it.
  11. Know what you want and need, what you’re willing to let go of, and what is NOT negotiable.
  12. Follow the chain of command, start at the level nearest your child.
  13. Be realistic. Ask: Is this appropriate for this child?
  14. Be informative: share what you know that makes your idea so right.
  15. Be open and honest.
  16. Stick to the topic.
  17. Ask questions before making demands.
  18. Be creative: If you come with a problem, come with solutions too.
  19. Avoid stepping into the adversarial role when possible. Being assertive, reasonable, positive, and non-combative may be hard, but the long term results are better.
  20. When dealing with feelings, use “I statements”—“I feel _____ when you ______.”
  21. Separate the people from the problem. Attack the problem, not the person.
  22. Determine the true needs and interests of each side.
  23. Generate a long list of options and ideas before deciding on the one solution to the problem.
  24. It may be better to walk away, cool off, and come back later.
  25. Whatever you say, expect the other side to hear something completely different.
  26. Develop your best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Know what you will do if you fail to reach an agreement.
  27. Take the team approach . Ask the group to sit in a circle rather than all on one side opposite the parent.
  28. Understanding someone else’s viewpoint is not the same as agreeing with it. You don’t have to accept their viewpoint, just see it.
  29. Every time you feel like “they” are not listening...you probably are not listening either.
  30. Keep the child’s best interests in the center of the discussion.
  31. Don’t just be stubborn. Our ideas might be excellent or they may be starting points for even better solutions.
  32. Remember that schools must only allocate those resources the IEP feels are needed so that there is a realistic chance the child will benefit. An IEP is not a guarantee. It is a working plan.
  33. Make sure your verbal and non verbal messages are matching.
  34. Thank people for their help. Often.
  35. Be persistent—don’t give up.
  36. Use humor when possible.
  37. Stay cool!
  38. Look to the future rather than spending time redoing the past.