5 Things You Should Do During an IEP Meeting

1. Discuss your child.

No one on the IEP team is as familiar with your child as you are. Share your thoughts about your child’s personality, challenges, and strengths. You are not required to limit your remarks to academics. Discuss your child’s performance on sports teams and other extracurricular activities. This provides the team with further information about your child’s strengths and interests.

2. Maintain an open mind.

If someone brings up an issue or solution that you are unsure about, listen to them out. Sometimes obstacles arise at school that you do not encounter at home. After all, school is a unique setting with its own set of rules and objectives. You can create the best plan for your child if you work together.

3. Make inquiries.

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Laws and programs governing special education are complex. Even if you’re well prepared, new terminology may be introduced at an IEP meeting. When this occurs, request an explanation. You have the right to be informed about every aspect and choice. You can also request that someone take notes during the meeting ahead of time. Then, at the end of the meeting, request a copy of the notes.

4. Concentrate on the end result.

Verify that the staff is aware of your expectations and goals for your child. This puts everyone on the same page while you work on a plan together. Inquire about the team’s proposals. You can also make changes. Share your concerns if you’re not sure how something supports your child’s objectives.

5. Advocate for your child’s — and your own — rights.

For example, if you are told that the school would not cover specific services, request to see a copy of the section of the Education Act that supports that claim. If you are hesitant about the IEP draft, do not feel obligated to sign it. You have the right to take the IEP draft home and think about it. Be polite yet firm.

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