Suggestions to help parents feel more at ease and able to participate as a full member of the IEP team:
Before the meeting:
- Build a positive relationship with your child's IEP team. This relationship will help you feel more comfortable and know others hear your point of view.
- Plan ahead and put your thoughts down on paper, so you won't forget to mention what's important to you during the meeting. Know the purpose and format of the IEP meeting and who will be there ahead of time. That way you won't be surprised by the number of people around the table or the process being followed.
- If you wish to share the results of a private evaluation with the IEP team, send copies of the reports to the team ahead of time
- Review current reports, last year's IEP, and Notice of Procedural Safeguards sent to you annually
During the meeting:
- Understand that, as the parent, you are an integral part of the IEP team.
- Find a way to personalize your child. Remember you know your child best-strengths, talents, interests and needs, so add your perspective to what other team members say.
- Be prepared for district staff to refer to assessment data and their observations, to support their recommendations about what is appropriate for your child.
- Don't hesitate to ask questions and seek clarifications.
- Bring a trusted person with you - a spouse, partner, relative, friend - so you have a support system and another set of ears to hear what others have said.
- Involve your child in the IEP meeting to the extent appropriate for his/her age. Federal law requires the child be included in the IEP meeting whenever transition services are to be discussed. Those discussions begin with the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16. When your child is 18, he will be making decisions about his own placement.
- Ask to take the IEP home to review if you're unable to make a final decision at the meeting.
After the meeting:
- Talk to your child, in terms he'll understand, about what was discussed at the IEP meeting. Be sure to discuss the progress he's made. Review the goals so he'll know what he's going to be working on during the coming year.
- Place the IEP in a binder or file to have easy access for future reference.
- Note on your calendar the dates you can expect to receive regular reports from the school of your child's progress toward his annual IEP goals. IEP progress reports are sent home in the same time period as regular education report cards.