STEP 5: The IEP Meeting

If this is your child's initial IEP meeting, or if you are new to the  process, you should read the section titled Writing the IEP for a detailed description on what an effective IEP should contain.

Before you meet, 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 meeting, you will receive a copy of your procedural safeguards (parent rights), and be asked to sign a form stating you have received them 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
Your Child's Current Classroom Teacher
Other General Education Teachers School Psychologist and any other Specialists
School Administrator
The Parent
The Child (if child is over the age of 8)

Whoever performed the evaluation, usually the school psychologist,  will share the following information with the team:

  • Your child’s current level of performance
  • Concerns and assessment results
  • Teacher reports
  • 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:

  • Share concerns
  • 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 has finished sharing the results, he or she will make a recommendation regarding your child's eligibility 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 evaluation results or recommendation, you have the right to request an Independent Educational 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 will present the written plan at the meeting. This will contain your child's goals, objectives, modifications and accommodations. Each area will be explained to you along with the services that your child will receive in order to achieve these goals.

REMEMBER... 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 a document next to the correct statement:

1. You received your procedural safeguards and understand your rights.


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 you did not agree with the IEP team's recommendations, the team will need to determine the next step. This may include the following:

  • Additional testing
  • Independent Education Evaluation (IEE)
  • Mediation
  • Due Process
  • Advocacy Services.
  • As the parent or guardian, you can withdraw your consent 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.

    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.

    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