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.
Related: IEP Meeting Overwhelm? How to Avoid It!
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.
Related: Requests Prior to IEP Meetings: Eval Reports and Draft IEPs
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).
There are rights and responsibilities for the district and the parents as well as ways to resolve differences. Parents should be familiar with the Procedural Safeguards to advocate effectively and cooperatively at meetings. Each district’s Procedural Safeguards are listed on the state’s Dept of Education website and in their district’s SP&P (Policy & Procedures).4
Parents should know of their right to ask for Prior Written Notice under certain conditions:
- Proposes to initiate/change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of your child;
- Proposes to initiate/change the provision of FAPE to your child;
- Refuses to initiate/change the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of your child;
- Refuses to initiate/change the provision of FAPE to your child.5
- http://www.fldoe.org/academics/exceptional-student-edu/monitoring/ and http://www.parentcenterhub.org/parental-rights/
Doreen Franklin is a Wellness Educator with Young Living Essential Oils and a Special Education Advocate. Doreen & her husband adopted two daughters; both are special needs. Doreen homeschooled her older daughter (who has ADHD).
FREE DOWNLOAD: Pre- IEP Worksheet
The Politics of Special Education: The Information You Need Right Now
More IEP Help
- How can parents prepare for an IEP Meeting? (Part 1)
- How to Set Clear Goals and Plan Naturally
- Three Tips for Highlighting and Color-Coding Your Child’s Draft IEP
- Whether it’s Your First IEP or You’re a Pro: 10 things to Cover at the Meeting
- Requests Prior to IEP Meetings: Eval Reports and Draft IEPs
- The Politics of Special Education: The Information You Need Right Now
- Is the IEP Individualized or Cookie-Cutter?
- Rock Your Next IEP: Tips for a Successful IEP Meeting
- Beyond the IEP Team: 6 Tips for Parent Participation at School
- Should My Child Attend the IEP Meeting?
- IEP Meeting Overwhelm? How to Avoid It!
- Calm Your Nerves – Know What To Expect At An IEP Meeting
- The Importance of S.M.A.R.T IEP Goals
- IEP Prep: Using the Mama Bear Strategy
This post originally appeared on our July/August 2018 Magazine