Accurate and updated information as of April 2022
The right to participate in meetings related to their child is one of the most important and powerful of parent rights.
Parents have the right to participate in meetings with respect to the:
Keep reading to learn the details of this right.
It’s interesting to note the direct connection between the parents’ right to participate in specific meetings and groups and the responsibilities that the school system has as a result. For example, IDEA states:
(b) Parent participation in meetings. (1) The parents of a child with a disability must be afforded an opportunity to participate in meetings with respect to—
(i) The identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the child; and
(ii) The provision of FAPE to the child. [§300.501(b)(1)]
Immediately after this statement, IDEA focuses on the corresponding responsibility of the school system:
(2) Each public agency must provide notice consistent with §300.322(a)(1) and (b)(1) to ensure that parents of children with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in meetings described in paragraph (b)(1) of this section. [§300.501(b)(2)]
The school must notify parents about upcoming meetings early enough to ensure they have the opportunity to attend. It must also schedule the meeting at a mutually agreed on time and place. (5)
When the school notifies parents of an upcoming meeting with respect to their child with a disability, it must:
What is this last point referring to? “…IDEA’s provisions regarding the participation of others…” It’s referring to IDEA’s provisions (7) that, at the discretion of either the school or the parents, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child may be invited to participate in the IEP meeting as members of the IEP team. For example, related services personnel (e.g., a speech language therapist or physical therapist) may be invited (if appropriate) if they have knowledge or special expertise about the child—the same as a teacher, specialist, friend, or family member with special expertise or knowledge of the child might be.
Who determines if the person to be invited has knowledge or special expertise about the child? According to IDEA, the party (parents or the school) that invites the person to be a member of the IEP team. Thus, it’s not necessary to demonstrate or prove the person’s knowledge or special expertise regarding the child. (8)
Additional Information in Certain Circumstances
There are two occasions when the notice to parents from the school must include additional information:
When the child is moving from early intervention to special education services. Is your child currently receiving early intervention services under Part C of IDEA? Is he or she moving now to receiving special education services under Part B? This usually happens sometime around the third birthday. If so, the school must call an IEP meeting in order to develop an individualized education program for your child. If this notice from the school is for the initial meeting of the IEP team for a child under Part B, then the school must also inform you, as parents, that, if you so choose, the Part C coordinator from the early intervention program (or other representatives of the Part C system) can be invited to the first meeting of the IEP team for the child. The purpose? To ensure the child’s smooth transition from one system of services to another. (9)
Inviting the Part C coordinator to the meeting is not automatic. It’s at the discretion of the parents. If you, as parents, would like the Part C coordinator (or other representative of the Part C system) to attend the meeting, share your wishes with the school, who will then issue the invitation.
When a purpose of the meeting is to consider postsecondary goals and transition services for your child. IDEA requires that each child with a disability begin to plan for transition to adult life beginning no later than the first IEP to be in effect when the child turns 16 years old (or younger, if the IEP team determines that starting sooner would be appropriate).
Is this the case with your child? Is one of the purposes of the upcoming meeting to consider postsecondary goals and transition services for your child? If so, then the notice provided to parents by the school must:
If neither parent can attend the IEP team meeting, the school must use other methods to ensure their participation, including individual telephone calls or conference calls. (11)
Yes, the school may hold the meeting without the parent(s) attending, if neither of the child’s parents is able to attend. In this case, the school just document its attempts to arrange a mutually agreed upon time and place for the meeting, such as:
IDEA stipulates the limits of the term “meeting” and what we can consider a “meeting” that’s subject to IDEA’s requirements with respect to parent notification and participation. A “meeting” does not include:
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 §300.501 of IDEA—see paragraph (b)(1), Parent participation in meetings.
 §300.501 —see paragraph (c)(1), Parent involvement in placement decisions.
 §300.322—see (b), Information provided to parents.
 §300.321(a)(6) and (c).
 §300.321 — see (c), Determination of knowledge and special expertise.
 §300.321 —see (f), Initial IEP Team meeting for child under Part C.
 §300.322—see (b), Information provided to parents.
 §300.322—see (c), Other methods to ensure parent participation.
 §300.322—see (d), Conducting an IEP Team meeting without a parent in attendance.
Sure you do. Use the links below to go there quick! Parents have the right:
SOURCE ARTICLE: Center for Parent Information & Resources
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