Based on our experience representing parents of children with disabilities, we’ve compiled these tips to help you prepare for your next IEP meeting. We hope that these tips will help your meetings be more productive and run more smoothly!
1. Read the Invitation
What kind of IEP meeting is scheduled? The Invitation to Conference should inform you of the purpose of the meeting, including whether the team will discuss conducting a reevaluation, results of evaluations, reviewing and revising the IEP, and reviewing and revising your child’s placement. If you are confused about the purpose of the meeting, ask! If you want to discuss additional areas at the meeting, let the school know as soon as possible. The Invitation will also indicate who will attend the meeting. Think about whether you want anyone else to attend the meeting—you have the right to invite other individuals that know your child and can provide relevant information to develop an appropriate IEP.
2. Request documents
Having a chance to review documents before the meeting—rather than during the meeting—will give you a chance to consider any new information and whether you have any questions. If the purpose of the meeting is to discuss recent evaluations of your child, request copies of the evaluations before the meeting. Review the evaluations and decide whether you want to request independent evaluations. If the purpose of the meeting is to develop your child’s Annual IEP, request a copy of the draft IEP. Be sure to ask to see the data collected on your child’s IEP goals over the past year, so you can confirm the information in the Present Level is accurate and see if you child is actually making progress.
3. Review your records
Carefully read the most recent IEP, progress reports, assessment results, and report cards. How is your child progressing on the IEP goals? Does your child need additional or different supplemental aids and services? Consider these questions before the meeting so you are prepared to discuss. If you have time, review all of your child’s IEPs, or at least from the past few years. If you do not have copies of these documents, ask for them!
4. Provide documents/information
If your child has recently been evaluated privately or if you have any new information, such as a new diagnosis, from your child’s medical providers, provide this information to the IEP team before the meeting.
5. Write down your concerns, questions, & ideas
After reviewing the most recent IEPs, progress reports, draft IEP, and evaluations, write down your concerns, questions, and any ideas you have for IEP goals, supplemental aids and services, specially designed instruction, and related services. Write down any ideas you have, regardless of what you think is available at your child’s school. Bring your list to the meeting, so you can be sure not to forget anything.
How do you prepare for IEP meetings? If you have any additional suggestions, leave us a comment!