IEP Meeting Process

Checklist to Assist Parents

The following is a simple checklist to help parents and/or guardians through the IEP meeting process.

  • Be sure to respond to the IEP notification sent to you. You are invited an encouraged to attend as a member of the team to develop, review, and/or revise your child's IEP. You may reschedule the meeting or ask to attend via phone conference. If you need to reschedule, notify the school as soon as possible. Have a couple alternative dates ready when you call.
  • Be clear on the purpose of the IEP meeting (e.g., initial, annual, triennial, or addendum). This will help you prepare for the meeting.
  • Sit down with your child and others involved in his or her education, brainstorm strengths, needs, and challenge areas. List some of the areas you would like to share with the IEP team.
  • Write down your questions and concerns. This will help the IEP meeting move smoothly as well as address your concerns.
  • Review copies of your child's previous IEP prior to the meeting. If you cannot find it, you may make a written request for a copy from the school district. Remember, it may take up to five business days to get a copy.
  • If you have specific areas or goals in mind, contact the case carrier to discuss your ideas so they may be included.
  • If the meeting plans to address a change in program or transition to a new school, you may want to find out more information prior to the IEP. If you would like to visit that program, contact your child's special education teacher for help to set up a visitation date and time.
  • If you wish to tape record the IEP meeting, notify the IEP team at least 24 hours before the meeting. You may indicate this on the IEP conference notice if returned within the timeline above and/or via fax or email.

Your Role During the IEP Meeting

  • Be introduced to everyone at the meeting and if their title is not determined, ask in what capacity they serve your child.
  • Actively listen.
  • Share your child's needs, strengths, what motivates him or her.
  • Give input and feedback.
  • Ask questions, especially if the team is referring to terms with which you are not familiar.
  • Take notes.
  • Be an equal partner in the decision-making process.

Tips on Communicating in an IEP Meeting

  • Have a positive attitude.
  • Give and expect treatment with respect; everyone on the team has feelings.
  • Keep your child as the focus of the IEP process.
  • Involve your child whenever possible.
  • Have goals in mind and let the team know what they are, in advance if possible.
  • Remember that the team is there to make your child successful.
  • Remember, you share a common goals.
  • Keep the lines of communication open.
  • Be fair and be willing to compromise.

Partial Implementation of the IEP

  • If you do not agree with all the parts of the IEP, you may sign consent only for those portions of the program with which you agree. Those portions agreed upon will be implemented without delay.
  • If you consent with the IEP and later decide you disagree with any part of it, you may request, in writing, an IEP meeting to discuss this concern.
  • If you consent to the IEP and later decide you disagree, you may revoke consent, in writing, and this action is not retroactive. The student will exit from special education. If, in the future, you seek re-enrollment in special education, the request will be treated as an initial assessment.

After the IEP Meeting

  • Review the results of the meeting with your child, if appropriate.
  • Maintain communication with your child's teacher.
  • Check that new services or resources were put in place.
  • Confirm that the related service providers have seen the current IEP.
  • Visit your child's program on a regular basis.
  • Periodically check the IEP against school work for consistency.
  • Monitor homework.
  • Evaluate progress.
  • Are you receiving periodic reports from the school on progress or problems?
  • How is your child progressing?
  • Do you think the program is working?
  • Are there some changes you would like to make? If so, can they be done informally, or do you think they require a more formal agreement or new IEP?
  • How does your child feel he or she is doing? Is your child happy at school?

Keep Accurate Records

  • As the parent and/or guardian of a child with a disability, you have gathered a tremendous amount of information about your child from various professionals and service agencies. Each time you seek services for your child, you will be asked to supply this information.
  • As the primary decision maker, observer, and advocate for your child, it is to your benefit to keep accurate, up-to-date records.

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Elementary-age male child holding sign about CAC parent handbook
flow chart describing IEP process from eligibility to assessment and subsequent placement and services