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As you go through the process of identifying your child's disabilities there are steps that must be taken to increase the likelihood that your child will get needed accommodations. When you or the district determines that your child may have a disability, or could benefit from accommodations, it is necessary for you to document everything. If you hire a good attorney, that attorney will make sure that important information is properly preserved in the district's records, and in your records. Record keeping is very important because the district will only be held accountable for those legal issues that you can prove if you and the district come to an impasse.

If you do not get a lawyer to help you through this process, follow up every communication with every employee or representative of the district with an email summarizing the discussion. Include the mode of communication (i.e. phone, text, email, in person), and the date and time the communication took place, and be sure to include your understanding of the outcome of the communication. If the district promised you something, note what was promised in the summary email.

When you have meetings, and the district provides a copy of the meeting minutes, make sure everything that you wanted addressed made it into the meeting minutes. Don't sign the minutes if you do not agree with them, if something was left out, or if you have not had sufficient time to review them. If you are exhausted from the meeting, don't sign the minutes. Tell the district that you need time to review the minutes to make sure they are accurate and that you will get back to them in a day or so. Then take your time reviewing the minutes. If something is missing, incomplete, or incorrect, write an addendum to the meeting minutes and submit it to the school administrator via email. Request a return email that includes either 1) a confirmation that the meeting minute addendum was made part of the official meeting record, or 2) a written response as to why your addendum was not added to the official record.

Any dispute that must be resolved through a hearing will be based on the records you have kept, so remember if you don't have a record of something it is likely you will not be able to prove that it happened.

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