The IEP Meeting: Let’s Make it a Sense of Relief Instead of a Sense of Pain!

The Chicago Tribune has recently published several stories about concerns that parents have faced when getting help for their children who have special needs.  Currently, the Chicago Public School System spends approximately 850 million dollars a year on special education services. Although a tremendous amount of money is spent on the services, parents are often left believing that they need to hire an outside “translator” (e.g. lawyer, psychologist, or academic specialist) to be able to decipher the information provided.

As Dr. Hull discussed in a prior blog article, the ideal goal of the IEP process is to provide support for the child.  Parents need to feel like the information that the IEP team provides is clear and helps them to understand, manage and strengthen their child’s educational experience. So many times I have heard from parents that they greatly fear and are intimidated about meeting with the school staff.  From my viewpoint, this is absolutely ridiculous.  Let’s move away from fearing the IEP and embracing it for what it is.  

Ideally, the IEP should serve as a source of relief for parents.  This meeting should serve as an opportunity for everyone (school staff, parents, outside professionals) to meet together and decide what the child needs in order to demonstrate learning at his or her maximum ability level.  I would like to hear from professionals and parents about their thoughts of the IEP process. 

What are your thoughts going in? 

Are you excited, nervous, afraid, mad? 

How happy have you been with the meetings that you have gone to? 

What changes would you like to see?

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