I figured since I'm currently going through my own school drama, I would share some knowledge I learned on this area. It has been a long hard road and not nearing the end for some time. Now knowing what I do, the road isn't going to be too bad. I'll list a couple of areas a parent should be concerned with when using these plans.
1. Ask questions. I know this should be a no-brainer but most of us blindly trust the system. When you have a room full of "experts", you tend to go with the majority. Don't let yourself be blinded by the position and college degrees. No one is going to know you child better than you. Ask what the actual goal is for the plan. Is it an academic or social? Will it be a combination of both? Sometimes the school gets stuck on one area without addressing others that could be crucial to your child's success.
2. Make the plan fit the child, not for the child into the plan. If you feel the IEP or 504 doesn't fit your child than say so. I have seen so many times where a plan is drawn with more accommodation for the teacher than the student. If you know your child gets restless after long periods of sitting, have average put in so he or she can take a break. Many times small things like that can make or break children on these type of plans.
3. Hold them accountable. When you finally decide on what works, keep the system honest. Make unannounced trip to the school and see what really happens. Many times there are instances where the plan looks great on paper but the teachers can't be bothered to follow it. I'm not slamming the teachers but I will call it as I see it.
These are just a few tips on dealing with schools and education plans. I would suggest getting to know parental support groups in your area as well. Many parents have done tireless searches on information that could be useful to you. There could be information you have come across they might have missed. Knowledge is power and to have a network you can draw from is priceless. Good luck and feel free to shoot an email and I will help as best I can. Send it to Viewsfromthenortheast@gmail.com