Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
At least once a year an Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting is held to discuss goals for the upcoming school year and to start or continue related services for the child.
The following is a list of some things to do for preparing for this yearly meeting as a parent. Throughout the year you should be reviewing the IEP utilizing a highlighter or post it notes for what you want to address at meetings.
About one month prior to the IEP you will need to send a letter to either the Assistant Principal or Administrator at the school for some items you would like to review before the actual meeting.
You can choose to ask for these items 5-10 days prior to the day of the meeting. Request goals from related services so you can compare them to the current IEP and get a feel for where your child is headed in the coming school year. The therapists have drafts of the goals they want to address at the meeting so these should be easy to copy.
If your child is being assessed or going through a triennial IEP request copies of these reports and assessments in advance of the meeting. They could be from the school psychologist, health and other related services. If you want specific school district personnel to attend the IEP you can address it in the letter, asking for them to be notified of the meeting date and offered the opportunity to attend.
I believe in most States you need to let the school know in writing that you plan on tape recording the meeeting. This would be done in the same letter. The school might plan on taping the meeting as well. If you are bringing legal representation or an advocate inform the school that these individuals will be at the meeting.
If your child gets services outside of the school district like Floor Time, Feeding, social skills or Behavior Support make sure you discuss goals for the IEP meeting and get their input. Make copies of their latest progress report so you can give these to the IEP team members. Invite these professionals to the meeting and inform the proper personnel at the school or on the form that these individuals will be attending the meeting.
Also during this time period make contact with the related services therapists that you would like to sit in on a session to observe your child. Do the same for the classroom if that is possible. Get some feedback at another time from these therapists on how your child is progressing in their goals and input on what they will be suggesting at the IEP meeting.
Bring with you to the meeting bottled water, a snack, list of goals you would like to see for classroom and related services, your list of questions you want to discuss and a photo of your child. Have a folder or notebook portfolio of all related documents from previous years. This will enable you to follow along or bring up something from a prior year. Keep the current IEP in a separate folder for easy access to go over the current goals and how they will be revised for the following school year.
Arrive at the meeting with an open mind and bring a support person if possible or needed. Make sure to ask for a communication type log to be included in the IEP and quarterly meetings with the IEP team to discuss progress. Bring any blank charts you would like implemented, photos of visual supports you would like to see in the classroom. Address the issue of emergency intervention and what the school policy is during emergency instances. It is better to be prepared and have a plan in place.
Get a draft copy of the IEP to take home and review for a day or longer. You do not have to sign the document right away and can read it over at your leisure.
Behavior Support Planning
Example of A Functional Analysis Assessment
Classroom Visitation Checklist