If you are the parent of a child with disabilities you need to be aware of the Individual Educational Plan (IEP). Under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) parents of a child with who receives special education services meet at least once a year, with school personnel, to discuss their child’s IEP. This may be a stressful time for you and you may feel intimidated by school personnel.
Here are 10 tips to get ready for your child’s IEP meeting:
- Understand your child’s rights. Your child’s school is required by IDEA to give you copies of statutes and regulations. Your responsibility is to read and look for help to understand them.
- Request a copy of your schools IEP format. Get familiar with the sections you will complete along with the team.
- You are your child’s expert. Keep in regular contact with your child’s school, get copies of your child’s school file, and create a personal file.
- Know your options. Learn of the various programs and services available in your school district.
- Develop your child’s ideal IEP. Put together this ideal plan before the meeting and bring it to share with others. Make a blueprint.
- Gather all information that supports your position in regards to your child’s IEP. A statement from your child’s teacher or an independent assessment can help.
- Confirm who will be attending the IEP meeting. Find out what services the school can provide.
- Invite people who know your child to speak on their behalf. This may be a physician, an independent evaluator, or a specialist who supports the program. Also a friend or tutor.
- Organize all your materials and bring them in a file.
- Explore all additional resources for your child.
There are other resources that help you better understand what an IEP is and how you can teach your child to be a better advocate.