I'm posting this here and in Special Education 101. I have been coming here for several years, on and off. My child was diagnosis bipolar when he was 5. He's 11 now. I've been to countless ARDs, evaluations, doctors etc. I don't claim to be an expert or anything of the sort but I have learned 2 things in the last month that I wish I would have done from the beginning. KEEP ALL PAPERWORK!!! (WRITE UPS/ARD NOTICES/evaluations/ANYTHING) Even if you throw everything in a completly unorganized pile or box in the corner somewhere, keep it all. You can organize it later if you need to but just keep it!! Here's why. Last month my son kicked a staff member. Assault charges were filed and the district was trying to expel him. I have learned that at the end of the year most non-essential paperwork is shredded. Although I did not keep all the discipline notices/write ups during the first three years, I did have at least 90% of them. I was able to go back through these and flag all the ones that showed the same behaviors (behaviors that got him diagnosis'ed in the first place). Showing up to the manifestation ARD (MDR) with a 2" binder with several hot pink post its sticking out of it was impressive, especially because they no longer have this paperwork and have no idea what all I have flagged. Unfortunately I was not allowed to present my information which was a violation on their part and brings me to my next point. RECORD ALL MEETINGS!! On the way to the manifestation ARD (MDR) I bought a digital recorder. This turned out to be a very significant tool. During the meetings there were more than more procedural violations made. Because I had it recorded, and the others that followed, I could disect all that was said and verify the information that I would have forgotten otherwise. As we started appealing up the chain of command within our school district they started realizing what violations were made, the proof I had of it and they have now withdrawn the threat of expulsion. During an ARD, there is usually just too much information to absorb. Recording the meetings can make a HUGE difference later! If your child has not started school yet, or even if they have actually, START SAVING EVERYTHING!! This is just a tip of the iceburg of the things that can be VERY relevant if you ever need to appeal something. I just gave a few examples of what all turned out to be important for my son in the last two months. There were other things as well. Something as simple as the invitation letter to an ARD, or a letter from staff, emails, correspondence with a teacher. SAVE IT!! I hope you'll never need it, but chances are, you just might. If nothing else, it will make them pay more attention and not ignore you if they see you showing up each time with binders full of everything. Sorry this was so long. I just felt it was so very, very important ESPECIALLY if you are just getting started. Good luck to you and best wishes.