Your child's IEP (Individualize Education Program) plan is instrumental to their educational success. As a parent, you play a crucial role in the development and implementation of the IEP plan. This makes it vital for you to attend your child's IEP meeting. These meetings can be a little overwhelming for parents, especially if they are unprepared. However, you can make the most of your child's IEP meeting with just a little preparation.
IEP Meeting Tips
Talk to Teachers and Support Staff
Many of your child's teachers and support staff will be at the IEP meeting, but it's best to speak with them days before the meeting. Find out what concerns they have about your child's educational plan and what supportive services seem to be working. This will avoid the risk of being blindsided at the meeting and give you an opportunity to consider actionable solutions to any problems.
Talk to Your Child
Before your IEP meeting, take some time and talk with your child about school. Find out what challenges they are having, as well as what learning techniques work best. Also, ask your child if they have any questions or concerns about the services they receive in school. This input will be invaluable to creating an effective IEP plan.
Have Everything in Order
Don't go to your meeting unprepared. Gather as much information as possible, such as previous IEPs, school assessments and medical diagnoses. You should also prepare of list of topics you want to discuss, educational modifications you want for your child and questions you want to address. This will ensure you don't forget any important matters during the meeting.
Take Along Support
Whether this is your first IEP meeting or 10th, it can be a little intimidating. It is strongly recommended to bring a support person along with you to the meeting. If possible, bring someone with IEP experience, such as a doctor or therapist. However, just having someone sit next to you who is willing to listen and take notes can be very helpful.
There may be nothing more frustrating than finding out your child is having problems at school but you are the last to know. Communication with all school personnel involved is a must. Insist that a viable communication plan that works for teachers, parents and student is created at the IEP meeting.
First IEP Meeting
If this is your first IEP meeting, you definitely want to take a support person with if possible. Bring along a notepad to take notes, and be sure to ask lots of questions to make sure you understand exactly the contents of the IEP. Don’t feel pressured into signing the IEP at the meeting. Instead, take it home with you and review it before signing. Discuss the contents with your child (if age-appropriate) and request adjustments if necessary.