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The IEP meeting is very important for your child. In this meeting, you, one or more representative teachers, and an administrator will discuss your child’s education and his special needs so you need to be prepared. The meeting has a definite purpose: To help everyone involved with the education of your child to understand your child’s strengths and needs.
Follow up:Then the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for your child will be placed in a written form and distributed to all involved in the education of your child. This meeting will be held once a year. You will be notified by mail and given a list of dates to choose the time best suited for you.
Before attending the meeting, make a list of all items that you would like to discuss: what worked last year, what you didn’t feel worked last year, what you feel could be done to make this a better school year. All major concerns will need to be discussed at this meeting. Take last year’s copy of the IEP meeting with you. This will be the time to discuss how you feel about last year’s results.
Feel free to bring another person to the IEP meeting with you. That person may be your spouse, a trusted relative or friend, or it may be a related service provider, advocate, or representative from a disability organization.
This meeting allows you the opportunity to ask questions and to share information about your child. You are the person who knows your child best so you will want to share information about them such as their home life and habits, how they related to others, what their chief interest and activities are. This is also the time for you to share what you feel your child needs for the short term and for the long term in preparation for life. Tell them about their strengths and weakness, what you feel they need, and concerns that you have. Make sure that you understand discussions that are held between you and the committee and between members of the committee. If you don’t understand, immediately ask to have them explained to you. That is your right. Remember that school data, progress reports, and other information such as diagnostic tests and assessment will be used in the plan for your child’s education. Listen carefully. Ask questions. Be an active part of the group.
A very good idea is to take the IEP home with you before agreeing to it. You will have time to read over the IEP and think about each part of it. In all likelihood, you were stressed at the meeting. Reading it at home will give you the time to reassure yourself that all the right decisions have been made. If you do disagree with any part of the IEP, you will need to contact the school as soon as possible and be ready to work with them to resolve the disagreements.
Throughout the year, you will receive periodic reports on your child’s progress toward achieving his annual goals. Most will come at the time report cards are issued. If your child is not progressing as planned, another IEP may be needed. At this meeting, you and the committee will discuss possible changes that need to be made. Often these meetings may be held over the phone with the special education teacher. You will receive a notice of the changes. Make sure that you receive it. Remember – an IEP meeting may be requested at any time during the year if you believe a meeting is needed.
It is your right to consider all evaluation results. Make sure results fit with what you know about your child. Be sure that you feel the evaluation was a complete one. Do you disagree with any part of the evaluation? If so, you may ask for an independent educational evaluation (IEE). It will cost you nothing. Then the results of the IEE will be considered by the IEP group for further planning for your child’s IEP.
As a parent, you have many rights. Use them wisely. If your school administration, a teacher, or anyone else involved with your child’s education does a great job with your child, tell them so. Working for your child and the in best interest of your child is the goal of your school. Working together you and the school can make your child’s education an exceptional, successful one.