Calm Your Nerves – Know What To Expect At An IEP Meeting
Know What To Expect At An IEP Meeting
IEP MEETING … Just those two words can send a parent into a state of fear, anxiousness and worry, including the most seasoned parent! There are many reasons for these feelings, but let’s look at what an IEP meeting is all about. There is a lot of info for IEP meetings, so here are a few items that might help calm your nerves.
IEP Teams meet to discuss initial evaluations for your child, review those evaluations (which would include your child’s strengths/weaknesses), determine eligibility, and if your child is eligible, to develop the IEP.1 The IEP Team has 30 days to write the IEP.2 Parents must remember that you are an integral part of the IEP Team AND your child’s advocate/voice. Parents should come prepared: Show the Team what your child does at home and in the community (bring pics or videos) and write an agenda with a list of your concerns/questions. You will also want to know and understand your child’s present levels and ask questions if you don’t understand what is being said that is specific to your child, etc… The IEP Team will meet annually to review and update the IEP.
The IEP team includes:
(i) The parents of a child with a disability;
(ii) At least one regular education teacher; (iii) at least one special education teacher; (iv) a representative of the local educational agency who–
(I) is qualified to provide, or supervise, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of your child;
(II) is knowledgeable about the general curriculum; and
(III) is knowledgeable about the availability of resources; (v) an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluations; (vi) at the discretion of the parent or agency, other individuals who have knowledge/special expertise regarding the child (related services personnel); and (vii) whenever appropriate, the child with a disability.3
Note VI above – I suggest to parents to bring someone with you to support YOU. That could be a family member, the parent of a child who has the same disability as your child, or an advocate (special ed advocate or someone from an organization that is versed in your child’s disability).
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