Ep. 164: 5 Keys to Productive IEPs with April Rehrig

Dec 19, 2023 | 0 comments

The IEP process is notoriously daunting, overwhelming, and can be confusing to parents. However, parents have the right to be active participants in all aspects of an IEP. There’s more that parents can do to be a part of their child’s education and successfully advocate for the support they need in the classroom.

Today’s guest is April Rehrig, the founder of Rise Educational Advocacy and Consulting. April has a unique approach to special education reform that promotes team collaboration and communication to ensure every child feels valued. Through Rise Educational Advocacy, she guides families through the IEP process and helps bridge the gap between schools and parents.

This episode is all about the 5 keys to productive IEPs and how to build a relationship with the team of people supporting a child.


Show Notes:

[2:09] – April has been working with neurodiverse students since she was a teenager. She shares her background and what drives her passion.

[4:45] – An experience in her early years of teaching opened her eyes to presumed competency.

[5:32] – After 20 years as a school psychologist, April now bridges the gap between schools and parents.

[6:54] – Parents just want their kids to get the support they need, but it is daunting to get started. Most parents don’t know what to expect.

[8:41] – Just like building a house, you must have a solid foundation. 

[11:02] – If schools and psychologists communicate with parents from the very beginning, it saves time and makes things easier for families.

[12:32] – Parents have the opportunity to write a parent report to share during the IEP meeting.

[14:41] – Psychologists and teachers are trained to look for what the deficits are. But reports are a snapshot. Really good evaluations are based on multiple measures.

[16:44] – What is a child’s inferential learning? Standardized test scores do not provide this information.

[19:23] – Comprehensive evaluations drive the IEP.

[21:00] – Parents have the right to participate in all aspects of the IEP process.

[25:24] – There’s a misnomer called predetermination. April has a different opinion on giving reports before a meeting.

[28:09] – Each state and district has a different approach to the IEP process. But something that is universal, the parent input section is often only three lines long.

[30:27] – When we take sides, we lose the importance of talking about the child as a team.

[32:57] – Parents can get stuck on advocating for a particular service, but should look at weaknesses and the outcomes they want.


About Our Guest:

April Rehrig is the founder of Rise Educational Advocacy and Consulting, LLC. She has over 20 years of experience as a school psychologist, teacher, and parent in the public school setting. With her Build a Better IEP™️curriculum, April teaches parents and teachers nationwide how to successfully navigate special education from a strength-based perspective. Her unique approach to special education reform promotes team collaboration and communication. April holds a master’s degree in education and is a Board Certified Education Advocate (BCEA) Fellow. She completed the prestigious Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA) SEAT™ 2.0 & 3.0 program, is a Licensed Educational Psychologist (LEP), Certified Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Specialist (ASDCS), Master IEP Coach©, and credentialed teacher.


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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.