The Secret of the PWN


The Secret of the PWN

I. Introduction

As a parent of a child with special needs, navigating the special education process can be overwhelming. However, one of the most essential tools for parents is Prior Written Notice (PWN). This legal requirement ensures parents are informed and involved in their child's education. In this blog post, we will discuss what PWN is, why parents need to know about it, and when to request IEP meeting information be added to the PWN.

II. What is Prior Written Notice (PWN)?

Prior Written Notice is a legal requirement under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that mandates schools to provide written notice to parents before making any significant changes to their child's special education program. A PWN must be provided each time the school proposes to initiate or change a child's eligibility category, evaluation, or educational placement or proposes to start or change the provision of a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) to the child. A PWN must include a description of the action proposed or refused by the school, an explanation of why the school proposes or refuses to take action, and a description of any other options considered by the school.

III. Why is it important for parents to know about PWN?

Parents of children with special needs have the right to be informed and involved in their child's education. PWN is a powerful tool that helps parents exercise this right by ensuring they are fully informed of any changes that may affect their child's education. The PWN also provides parents with a clear understanding of their rights and helps them advocate for their child. By understanding the PWN, parents can make informed decisions and work collaboratively with the school to provide their child the support they need.

IV. When to request IEP meeting information is added to the PWN

Parents can request that IEP meeting information be added to the PWN when they disagree with a decision made by the school. For example, suppose a parent makes a request for a different placement, more evaluations, or a different eligibility category, and the school refuses. In that case, the parent can request that the denial and school reasoning be added to the PWN. This ensures that the parent clearly understands why the school refused their request and can make informed decisions about how to proceed.

Take NOTE!!

When we include disagreements in the PWN, we create a paper trail in this legal document, which can be crucial for future reference.

In situations where the initial concern continues to be an issue, having a well-documented paper trail in the PWN can serve as evidence that the parent requested the problem be addressed, and the school refused. This documentation can be vital if a parent decides to escalate their concerns or take legal action to ensure their child receives appropriate support and services. As a result, parents must understand the importance of adding their disagreements to the PWN and maintaining a clear record of their requests and the school's responses.

If you request that information be added to the PWN, note that you made that request, and when you get your copy of the IEP, ensure each item discussed is included in the document.

V. Conclusion

Prior Written Notice is a critical tool for parents of children with special needs. It ensures that parents are informed and involved in their child's education and helps them advocate for their child. By understanding PWN, parents can make informed decisions and work collaboratively with the school to ensure their child receives the support they need.

If you are struggling with getting an APPROPRIATE education for your child in place, make an appointment with me. Adding an advocate to your team is often the key to getting the ball rolling in the right direction.