Special Education: Parent Information Regarding IEP Meetings

WHAT SHOULD PARENTS PREPARE FOR AND EXPECT AT AN IEP MEETING?

The IEP Document:

The IEP document is to be developed by a team of persons, including the parent, or guardian, who have knowledge about the child, educationally.  The team should consist of a general education teacher, special education teacher, parent, school administrator or designee, and other personnel having knowledge or dealings with the child, relevant to the educational process. 

The parent should receive written notice of the meeting ten days prior to the convening of the meeting.  If ten days notice are not provided, but the parent wishes to proceed with the meeting, the parent may sign a waiver to give up that right,  and have the meeting occur.  Additionally, parents have the right to bring persons to the meeting whom they feel have pertinent information regarding the child.  In cases where the student, as agreed by the team, is mature enough to participate appropriately, the student may also attend.

Goals and Benchmarks:  The Individualized Education Program includes goals and benchmarks to elicit and document desired progress.  The goals are written for long term use, are to be completed within a year's time, and are to be reviewed, at a minnimum, annually, at the student's Annual Review.  The benchmarks are smaller steps, leading to the completion of the long term goal.

Parents should receive information regarding the student's progress on annual goals and benchmarks, as often as general education students recevie progress reports on their work in school.

Educational Placement:  Placement in the Least Restrictive Environment occurs near the end of the IEP meeting, once all of the information available to the student has been provided.  The team, including the parent, then reviews the student's educational needs and chooses the placement in which those needs can best be met.  Related Services are also discussed at this time and may include speech services, social work or counseling services, occupational/physical therapy, nursing services and adaptive PE.

Other areas that may be discussed as part of the IEP team meeting may include "Transition Planning" for students who are fourteen years or older, or "Transfer of Rights" for students who are seventeen or who will be turning seventeen during the year the IEP is current.

The IEP is a working document:  If at any time you have a question or a concern regarding your child's IEP, you have a right, as a member of the IEP team, to request an IEP meeting to discuss your concerns.  It is best to contact your child's special education teacher to facilitate this process.