In most parts of the country, school will be back in session soon. This means that IEP season is upon us yet again.
Most people I speak to tell me that IEP meetings are about as fun for them as a root canal. I agree. I find them particularly intimidating and often unpleasant, even when the school staff is amazing. I have two boys with IEPs, so I have been to many of these meetings over the years. Yet, I still find myself intimidated as I enter the school building
I have found that the best way to make these meetings go more smoothly is good preparation.
Below is a checklist we at Family Matters have compiled to help you prepare for your next IEP meeting. Feel free to print this out and give copies to anyone who might find it helpful.
Before the meeting:
□ Obtain the most current copy of your child’s records, including all evaluation data
□ Collect any information from private tutors and therapists that could help the team in making decisions
□ Review meeting notice and seek/review drafts and other reports for meeting
□ Review progress reports
□ Organize documents and have copy of the current IEP and current evaluations ready
□ Compile a list of your concerns/questions to bring to the meeting
□ Review IEP meeting rights
□ Decide who you want to attend and make sure they are invited
□ Decide whether your child should attend
During the meeting:
□ Participate fully to maintain balance as a team
□ Take notes
□ Make sure you understand all issues and recommendations
□ Ask questions—Who? What? Why? When? Where? How? How many?
□ Request copies of documents in use at the meeting if they have not been provided to you
□ Address all issues on the meeting notice/ agenda and on your list of concerns/questions
□ Summarize decisions, responsibilities and completion dates
□ Make sure decisions are documented in writing
□ Ask to reconvene if you need time to think about or review information or options
□ Leave with copies of all materials, including the new IEP document
After the meeting:
□ Review documents for content/accuracy; address any concerns you have promptly
□ Reorganize your copies of records and progress reports
□ Explain any service or support changes to your child
□ Think of ways you can reinforce what the teacher will be working on with your child
□ Monitor implementation of your child’s services (through emails, calls, teacher notes, etc.)
□ Observe your child’s class when necessary
□ Inform school staff of independent evaluation results and private services if relevant to implementation of the IEP
□ Communicate when you are pleased with, or worried about, the implementation of the IEP
If you would like help evaluating your child’s IEP, we provide free records reviews at Family Matters. We can review the IEP and other records and to evaluate current services and goals and help you prepare for future educational goals. We can guide you through the process and help you prepare for your annual IEP meeting. Call Family Matters at 866-436-7842 or send an email message to firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a time for a consultation.