The IEP meeting is the time when you and the school’s child study team present your individual concerns about your child’s educational, emotional, and social future. Often times, the school will focus on what your child cannot do. You, on the other hand, who knows your son or daughter better and more intimately than any of the other team members, focus on what your child CAN do. You must emphasize what you believe he/she needs to accomplish the things the others say are not being done satisfactorily. Working together, the team, including you, will focus on the most important topic on the table – your child, and his/her development as a functioning member of society.
To do this, you must be assertive. This may cause you some discomfort, BUT you must advocate for your child. During the IEP meeting, ask questions and take notes. You will use these toward the end of the meeting. You must understand every detail and decision. Be aware of the goals you may have for your child, and detail them to the rest of the team. Question them on how to achieve those goals. To accomplish all the above, these steps must be taken:
- With the team, examine each of your child’s evaluations, and any recommendations contained therein to help him/her overcome any difficulties in the learning process. These can be behavioral, emotional, societal, and physical. Especially examine your child’s progress reports and report card grades to discuss his/her successes and failures in achieving the previously-set goals and whether or not improvement or regression occurred.
- This is the time to correct anything that was unclear in the existing IEP, including the district, ’s not adhering to the terms and provisions expressed therein, and your child’s inability to make sufficient progress in his/her learning, social, and behavioral development.
- At this meeting, it is important to stress that the team realizes that this setting is to focus on your child and not necessarily, on the various processes. Their agenda is usually different than yours.
- Develop the goals and objectives you believe will be necessary to ensure that your child progress at a reasonable pace. Perhaps, additional services are necessary to make up for any regression or lack of progress that may be indicated from his/her progress reports. In any event, these goals and objectives should aim toward educational improvement and behavioral, social progress, and independence, especially over the course of the next year.
- At the end of the meeting, using your notes, recap your understanding of what must be done for your child to achieve each of the goals and objectives discussed during the meeting. Especially, state any differences of opinion that were discussed.
- Other than the sign-in sheet, DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING at the meeting. Tell the team you wish to review the results at home. This is an extremely important document. Make certain you discuss it with someone knowledgeable with special education laws. You
would not sign a contract if you did not understand each of the provisions contained therein.