It’s that time of year when schools are preparing for IEP meetings.
IEP’s or Individual Education Plans, are designed to help meet the needs of exceptional learners from Grades K – 12. An IEP is set up as a set of goals for the student, the teacher and anyone else involved with the student, to work on throughout the school year. They may even extend to activities or goals outside of school.
IEP’s can be stressful for parents and create anxiety for the student. If you have your child’s IEP meeting coming up soon, here are 7 Essential Guidelines for a positive IEP meeting.
Prepare some notes in advance of the meeting. Write down your child’s strengths, interests, weaknesses as well as items that you think he/she needs to work on.
Enlist Someone To Attend With You
If possible, have someone else attend the meeting with you. Having a second person to listen to what is being said helps with remembering the details. That person could even take notes for you which is especially helpful if the meeting is emotionally charged.
Have Your Child Attend The Meeting
If you feel that your child can understand the discussion, then ensure that he/she attends the meeting. Their input is very valuable but save any heated conversation for when they are not in the room.
Ensure That Goals Are Realistic
Ensure that the goals are realistic – for your child and for you as a parent. Ultimately you will want to work together with the school to meet goals and expectations. If the IEP contains items that need to be worked on at home, they must fit into your lifestyle.
Ask That Support Staff Attend
If your child will have support staff working with her/him throughout the year, ask if that person/persons can attend the meeting as well. When E.A.’s can hear firsthand some of the goals and strategies for your child, the information is not lost in translation.
Ensure that a date is set as to when the written IEP will be finished, when you will get a copy and what date it will be implemented. After you receive your copy, it is your right to question items in the IEP and request changes to be made if you feel it is necessary.
Check-In Regularly Throughout The Year
Check-in regularly with the resource teacher or whoever oversees the IEP implementation. Checking in monthly ensures that you are informed of any successes or challenges with the IEP goals and timelines.
Checking in with the classroom teacher on a weekly basis or even daily if your child has a communication book helps ensure that everyone is working towards the same result.
Following these 7 essential guidelines for a positive IEP meeting will help you, your child and the school staff have a positive IEP meeting and set the tone for a productive school year!!
~ Carla and Linda