Come prepared. Before the meeting write down your ideas, questions, and concerns.
Speak with your child’s teacher(s) about any assessments he or she has used to determine your child’s progress, and discuss the results.
Ask for a draft copy of the IEP before the meeting. This will allow you time to go over it in depth and to make notes. If the draft does not address you areas of concern, contact the teacher. Remember that you are a member of the IEP Team and your input will be considered.
If you have questions to be resolved or issues of concern for individual staff members, please try to address them before the meeting. You should have an ongoing dialogue with your child’s teacher and open communication all year long so that issues can be resolved as they arise and not result in a long and potentially difficult meeting.
At The IEP Meeting
Initial IEP — If you feel that the proposed IEP accurately describes your child’s strengths and needs, and you feel that the proposed placement can meet those needs, sign the document indicating that providing consent for initial Special Education services, and services can start immediately.
With the staff, discuss how much progress has been made on goals from the last IEP, which goals will need to be continued, and which will need to be modified. You may want to see specific examples of how progress has been measured on the current IEP.
Remember that your signature is required for initial special education services, but not for continuing services.
If you have not seen the IEP draft in advance and you need more time to consider it, let the staff know that you would like to take it home with you and return it within the next few days. Be sure to get back to the staff within a reasonable amount of time (1-2 days) because staff members need to follow-up on unsigned IEPs.
Discuss your concerns with other people if you need to, and then try again to resolve your differences with the school staff.
If you cannot reach agreement and you are beginning to feel upset, frustrated, or uncomfortable, calmly ask to end the meeting and reconvene at another time. Agree on a date to reconvene before the meeting ends. Prior to the next meeting, provide the team members with your concerns so that they can be addressed in a positive manner.