As the holidays approach, it’s IEP Season once again! Here are the top ten tips to remember:
10. Organize, Organize, and Organize;
Make sure you have all IEP’s, assessments and medical diagnoses together in one three ring binder. This way you can refer back to them during the IEP meeting.
9. Bring snacks;
IEP meetings can be long and nothing breaks the ice with the other team members like a nice cookie!
8. Assess in all areas of suspected disability;
Parents have the right to request assessments other than the ones the School District has suggested.
7. Request assessment copies prior to the meeting;
This way you can review the materials and participate in the IEP in a productive manner.
6. Stay calm and bring your spouse or a friend;
Parents are often considered too emotional by the School District which can be used against the parent. It is helpful to have someone else listen to confirm your understanding of what is being discussed and offered.
5. Eligibility does not drive services;
Once your child is eligible for special education, they must receive services in all areas of need. Don’t let the School District tell you they can’t provide a service because of your child’s eligibility. The School District must provide all related services pertaining to their educational needs.
4. If you disagree with an assessment ask for an IEE;
An Independent Educational Evaluation must be provided at the public school’s expense. If a parent requests an IEE, the School District must either say yes or take the parents to due process and explain to a hearing officer why the assessments the school provided were adequate.
3. Bring people with you that have specialized knowledge;
Parents have the right to invite participants to the IEP meeting that have specialized knowledge about their child. This could include advocates, attorneys, behaviorists, psychologists, etc. The School District personnel will outnumber you and it can become very intimidating. Level the playing field as much as possible.
2. Don’t feel pressured to sign the IEP that day; and
Always review the IEP before signing. If you don’t feel comfortable reviewing the IEP at the meeting, take it home and give yourself time to read it carefully!
1. You can disagree with any and all of the IEP offer.
If you disagree with any part of the IEP please add your comments to the parent’s concerns section and formally disagree with the parts of the offer you don’t like. Once you disagree, there are a number of informal and formal options that you as parents can pursue.