When you're looking for help for a student who struggles with a learning disability or mental health condition, you know it's important to have a plan in place to ensure your child's special needs are being met at school. That's where the Individual Education Program (IEP) meeting comes in handy. This required annual meeting gives parents, members of the IEP review team and other important stakeholders in your child's special education a chance to discuss various topics concerning your child's needs and progress in school, including required modifications or necessary therapies. It's key to prepare for your meeting to get the most out of it.
Here's a basic checklist you can use:
1. Review IDEA
Get familiar with the IEP meeting and process before you show up for a meeting. Every school provides a copy of your rights, so make sure you request and review a copy of the manual that explains the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and you and your child's rights.
2. Compile Your List of Questions
It's easy to forget the questions you want to ask about your child's progress at school. Simplify what you need to remember by writing down all the questions you want to ask prior to attending the meeting.
3. Invite People and Professionals
You don't have to face a group of IEP review members, teachers or school counselors alone. If you have your own "support team," consider inviting them to the meeting. This can be any adult who would be helpful in providing further insight into your's child's social interactions, behaviors or academic struggles, including your child's step-parent, grandparent, therapist or other advocate.
4. Review and Complete Evaluations and Forms
Review and sign evaluations and forms that the IEP review team has prepared. These forms typically let the team know all of the meeting's participants, and give you insight into what will be covered, such as goals for the next school year and progress thus far. This is also the time to send copies of any private evaluations to attendees of the meeting ahead of time for review. Lastly, take this opportunity to share your insight and concerns.
5. Create a Student Profile
As a parent, you're an expert when it comes to your child. Help your IEP team in advance with a profile to help them gain more knowledge about your child outside of school. You can include your child's strengths, learning challenges or any special accommodations they may need as part of this profile.
IEP meetings can be informative, but you will benefit even more by being prepared in advance. The next time an IEP meeting is coming up, review your IEP checklist to ensure you know what to bring and what to know so you can get the most out of your meeting.
If your child has learning and/or behavioral problems, we invite you to consider the Brain Balance Program. Contact us today to learn more!