Our recommendations for having successful Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings:
- Be Proactive. Your role is equally important as the education professionals’. You are an expert about your child. You should advocate for the support your child needs.
- Prepare well in advance of the meeting. Prior to the I.E.P., send a letter including all the topics you want addressed in the meeting to the I.E.P. team. Follow up with a call to the case manager to ensure your issues will be on the agenda.
- Request documents to review prior to the meeting. Ask for all reports, evaluations, and proposed goals and objectives in writing. Parents need time to digest the information and prepare for the meeting
- Keep detailed records. Document progress and setbacks in a journal, calendar, or on an app on your smart phone. Having pertinent education reports, evaluations, diagnostic test results, and classroom samples will be valuable in supporting your requests for services and keeping your child’s progress on track.
- Share documentation you have with the I.E.P. team. If you provide the school district with reports and recommendations from therapists and medical professionals, you will increase the odds of getting the supports you want for your child.
- Maintain communication throughout the school year. I.E.P. meetings should not be the only time of the year when progress is assessed. Staying in contact with teachers and specialists through email or notes helps everyone track progress towards goals and ensures that issues that arise are addressed quickly.
- Approach I.E.P. meetings with a collaborative mindset. Developing trusted relationships with the education professionals allows for greater success. The district will appreciate the efforts you are making at home to reinforce the educational and behavioral skills they are teaching at school.
- Advocate effectively. You must articulate your goals and concerns. Give the school district a chance to meet your needs by letting them know your expectations.
- Consider bringing an advocate with you to the I.E.P. meeting. An attorney, special needs advocate, or family friend can be comforting to you and it will deliver the message that you have a team of people who share your family’s desire to have your child succeed.
- Rearrange the seating at the I.E.P. meeting. Everyone should share the goal of helping your child learn and develop. Parents and staff should be interspersed. Sitting on opposite sides of the table is adversarial.
- Ask questions. Never leave the meeting without having all your questions answered.
- Keep the meeting focus on academic and development objectives. Do not allow teachers or administrators to avoid the more difficult conversations. Hearing that your child is cute or dresses well is not a productive use of the meeting time.
- Know your rights. Every child is entitled to a free appropriate public education. School districts cannot deny services solely for financial reasons.
These recommendations are provided solely as a reference and are not intended to replace counseling from qualified professionals. Please contact Oak Wealth Advisors if you would like more information about our services.