Do you approach IEP meetings with fear and dread? Here are some quick IEP reminders to improve the process AND your confidence.
How to Have a Successful IEP Meeting:
- EVERY child can learn and make progress.
- The “I” in IEP stands for individualized. Your child’s IEP must reflect your child.
- Special Education is NOT a place. Special Education is the supports and services your child receives through his or her IEP.
- On the IEP, Placement is NOT a location. Placement is the amount of time spent with special education services.
- As you prepare for the meeting think about:
- What has been accomplished?
- What has worked well?
- What needs more work?
- What are my concerns? What are my child’s concerns?
- Check the meeting notice. Make sure you know who is attending and their role in the process. If there is someone surprising on the list (such as a social worker when your child doesn’t receive social work services, call the case manager to find out the purpose of the person’s attendance).
- Create a vision statement for your child’s life both now and for the future. Work backwards to determine what he needs to accomplish this school year in order to meet the long-term goals.
- Gather supporting documents such as private evaluations, therapist notes, research-based articles relevant to your child’s situation, etc.
- Determine if someone will be attending with you such as a private therapist, evaluator and/or advocate. If you are bringing someone, inform the school as soon as possible.
- Ask for a draft copy of the IEP. Review it in relation to the past IEP(s) and determine if the goals are moving in an appropriate direction. Make a list of questions, concerns and suggestions.
- The IEP should be specific, detailed and easily understandable by anyone – even to someone who is not a member of the current IEP Team.
- Statements about your child’s Present Level of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance are critical parts of the IEP. They must be based on quantified data and be very specific.
- Goals need to be logical, measurable, and relevant to your child, and based on data.
- IEP teams should strive to reach a consensus. There is NO voting!
- Stay focused. Don’t get sidetracked.
- Ask for a break if you need one.
- Lack of money and/or other resources does not exempt a school district from providing what a child needs.
- Don’t leave the meeting without a copy of your child’s IEP and the District’s notes.
- After the meeting, review the IEP notes and submit additional notes and/or corrections if the school notes do not reflect everything that was said and/or if they misrepresent what was said.
- If you are unhappy with decisions that have been made, take steps to continue working with the school to ensure your child’s needs are being adequately addressed.
NSPT offers school advocacy services in Bucktown, Evanston, Highland Park, Lincolnwood, Glenview and Des Plaines. If you have questions or concerns about your child, we would love to help! Give us a call at (877) 486-4140 and speak to one of our Family Child Advocates today!