Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Preparing for your child's IEP

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.

IEP Checklist

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.)

Ongoing Contact:

    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 info@fmptic.org to schedule a time for a consultation.

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