STEP 5: The IEP Meeting
If this is your child's initial IEP meeting, or if you are new to the IEP process, you should read the section titled
Writing the IEP
for a detailed description on what an effective IEP should contain.
For any IEP meeting, make sure you have adequate time and that it is held in a private or semi-private location. Remember, you are discussing confidential information about your child. School districts will often hold meetings in front of secretarial staff, in libraries, or within earshot of other students.
Introductions should take place before the meeting begins. Some schools use an agenda but most do not. At every IEP meeting, you will receive a copy of your procedural safeguards (parent rights), and be asked to sign a form stating you have received tham and that you have no questions. It is always BEST to review these rights
before the IEP meeting
takes place and read them ahead of time so you can quickly agree or disagree to them with confidence.
The IEP team is usually made up of the following:
Special Education Teacher
Whoever performed the evaluation will share the following information with the team:
Your Child's Current Classroom Teacher
Other General Education Teachers
School Psychologist and any other Specialists
Child (if child is over the age of 8)
Your child’s current level of performance
Concerns and assessment results
Psychological testing results
Speech and language results if appropriate
Counseling input if appropriate
As a parent, you should consider yourself an ACTIVE member of the IEP team and assert yourself as the voice of your child.
TIPS FOR SUCCESS:
Generate a list of questions
Bring a file of important documents
When negotiating, acknowledge everyone’s good reasons and intentions
Ask questions if something is unclear
Remember that you are speaking for your child
Remember that you are there for a common purpose, the school probably isn’t the enemy
Inform the case manager if you are bringing others to the IEP meeting
Agree to disagree if consensus cannot be reached
Once the evaluator is finished sharing the results, he or she will make a recommendation regarding your
for special education services. The IEP team must then agree or disagree with this recommendation. Sometimes this is easy and everyone is in agreement. Sometimes it is not.
If you DO NOT agree with the evalation results or recommendation, you have the right to request an Independent Eductional Evaluation (IEE) at no cost to you. This means you are requesting that an outside party conduct another evaluation (basically like a second opinion) so that the IEP team can compare the results of the evaluations before determining eligibility.
If eligibility has already been agreed upon, the special education teacher should present a written plan at the meeting. This will contain your child's goals, objectives, modifications and accomodations. Each area will be explained to you along with the services that your child will receive in order to achieve these
If time ends and you feel you need more time to complete the IEP meeting, don’t feel pressured to sign the IEP. Ask that a continuation meeting be scheduled so you can finish the process without feeling rushed.
At the end of the IEP meeting you will be asked to sign a form indicating that you participated on the team. You will then be asked to sign the following statements:
1. You received your procedural safeguards and understand your rights.
You may withdraw your
at any time by giving written notification. Make sure you receive a copy of the IEP and remember that it can be revised at any time through an addendum IEP meeting.
If you feel you need more time to
review the IEP
before you sign it, ask if you may take it home for further review and agree on a time that you will return it with your answer. A parent has the right to audiotape an IEP if the district is given 24 hours notice.
2. You agree with the IEP in its entirety and give consent to implement the plan.
3. You agree with the IEP with the exception of the following, and give consent only to implement the parts you agree on.
If your child transfers to another district, the receiving district shall provide comparable services for a period of 30 days. After 30 days, the new district will adapt the previously approved IEP or develop a new IEP.
The IEP is reviewed frequently for progress and must be reviewed at least once a year to determine if the program is meeting your child's needs. It is the school’s responsibility to ensure the IEP is being implemented. A triennial evaluation is required every three years to determine if special education services are still needed.
The IEP document is a work in progress and any member can request a review or change. If you request an IEP meeting, it must be held withing 30 days of your request. An addendum IEP is used if the team determines that a change is warranted. This can include a change in services, goals or placement.
A transition IEP
is held for students transitioning from one program to another. This includes from 0-3 to Pre-school, from Pre-school to Elementary, from Elementary to Middle School, from Middle School to High School and from High School to adult life.
An exit IEP is held if a child no longer qualifies for special education services. The IEP team must agree that the student no longer qualifies.
Back to Step 1: The IEP Referral
Back to Step 2: The Special Education Evaluation
Back to Step 3: Determining IEP Eligibility
Back to Step 4: Writing the IEP