Planning for Your Child's IEP Meeting
It's time for your child's IEP meeting, but you're not sure what to expect. What is an IEP? How can you prepare? Who will be there? How will this help my chid become more successful in the classroom?
What is an IEP?
The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a legal document that is designed to meet your child's individual learning needs. The IEP is created through a team effort and is reviewed every year. It guarantees the necessary supports and services to be provided to your child.
Before the Meeting
- Build an effective partnership with someone on the IEP team, such as the teacher, principal or AEA staff member.
- Write down the things you want to talk about at the meeting. Be prepared to:
- Discuss your child’s strengths, interests and preferences.
Identify concerns about your child’s education
- Identify special considerations such as transition, behavior or communication.
Establish priorities to be considered for goal areas.
Send private evaluations reports to the IEP team ahead of time so they can be familiar with the information before the meeting.
- You may Invite someone to attend the meeting with you to provide support. It may be a spouse, friend, Parent & Educator Connection (PEC) coordinator or someone who has special knowledge of your child. Let the school know who will be attending.
During the Meeting
You are an integral part of the IEP team. You know your child and have valuable information to share--strengths, talents, interests and needs.
- Meeting participants:
- General education teacher
- Special education teacher
- Representative of the school who can commit resources
- Others, such as an AEA staff member, private provider or agency hired by the family
- Representatives from transition service agencies, if applicable
- Others you may have invited
- Your child, to the extent appropriate for his/her age. Transition services begin by age 14. At age 18, your child will be an adult making decisions about his/her own placement, so it's never too early to include him/her in the process.
- Goals will be written based on your child's educational needs. They may address other concerns such as language development, behavior or social skills.
- Don’t hesitate to ask questions and seek clarification at any time.
- The IEP team considers, to the maximum extent appropriate, to educate your child in the same setting as students without disabilities. This is referred to as LRE, or least restrictive environment.
- The IEP will be implemented immediately or on a date specified in the IEP.
- If you are unable to reach an agreement regarding services at an IEP meeting, another meeting will be scheduled. In the meantime, the current IEP will continue to be implemented.
- The IEP must include a description of how progress will be measured and when reports will be provided. Reports should be issued at least as often as those sent to parents of students without disabilities, usually three to four times a year.
- You will receive a copy of the IEP at the meeting.
After the Meeting
- Collaborate with the teacher and staff responsible for the IEP goals. Share observations and ask what you can do at home to reinforce the skills and strategies being taught at school.
- Review progress reports as you receive them.
- The IEP is reviewed at least once a year. However, if you or the teacher feel that your child isn't making progress or has achieved the goals sooner than expected, a meeting can be scheduled to revise the IEP by sending a written request to the school.
- Communicate often with the teacher and staff responsible for the IEP. Share observations and ask what you can do at home to reinforce the skills and strategies being taught at school.
- The IEP is reviewed at least once a year. However, if you or the teacher feel that your child isn’t making progress or has achieved the goals sooner than expected, a meeting can be scheduled to revise the IEP by sending a written request to the school.
- Whenever an IEP team recommends a change in service or placement, a written prior notice will be given to you. This gives you time to consider the recommendations.
- Contact your FEP Coordinator for support before, during or after the IEP meeting. The FEP can also provide information on trainings, conferences and workshops.
- Sign up to receive email notifications of FEP news and events by subscribing to the FEP email list.