The IEP Meeting

If this is your child's initial IEP meeting, or if you are new to the process, you should read all the steps in the IEP process so you care clear as to 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 parent rights before the IEP meeting takes place or ask for 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(s)
  • Other general education teachers, School Psychologist and any other specialists
  • School Administrator
  • The parent(s)
  • The child (if child is over the age of 8)

Usually, the school psychologist or caseworker 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.  Do not be afraid to ask questions during the IEP.


  • Share concerns
  • Take notes and have a list of questions
  • Bring a file of any important documents
  • When discussing services, 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 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 meet again and compare the results of both evaluations before determining eligibility.

Once eligibility is agreed upon, the special education teacher will present the written IEP plan. This plan will contain your child's goals, objectives, modifications and accommodations. Each area will be explained to you as well as any services that your child will receive in order to achieve these goals. The IEP should be very specific. 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 indicating your consent. 

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. 

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

  • Additional testing
  • Independent Education Evaluation (IEE)
  • Mediation
  • 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. THIS IS A WORKING DOCUMENT!

     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.

    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 The IEP Referral
    Back to The Special Education Evaluation
    Back to Determining IEP Eligibility
    Back to Writing the IEP

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