IEP meetings can be time intensive and stressful. Notwithstanding, they are a critical part of providing your child with the support he or she needs to be successful. As the parent or guardian, you are an integral part of the IEP Team and often your child’s best advocate. Below are three tips to help you prepare for a successful meeting.
Tip 1: Organize and Review Your Child’s File.
I highly recommend that you keep a large binder with your child’s records. This binder should include a section for each of the following:
• Consent Forms
• Meeting Notices
• Progress Monitoring Data
• Correspondence (emails, letters, etc.).
Keep these documents in reverse chronological order with the most current information on top. This makes it easier to see what happened at the previous meeting, including what placement, services and accommodations/modifications were instated. Make sure you have a copy of your parental rights well.
Tip 2: Create a List of Issues or Questions You Want to Address.
After you review your child’s file, reflect on any concerns you had since the previous IEP meeting. Here are some questions to get you started:
• Has my child been making progress?
• Is he or she child still in the least restrictive environment?
• Are the evaluations up to date — less than 3 years old?
Tip 3: Avoid Going to IEP Meetings Alone.
If possible, parents or guardians should attend meetings with another family member or friend. This person can provide emotional support as a friendly face in the room. Additionally, they can function as a second set of ears, notes and perspective throughout the meeting. Your meeting buddy can also help you debrief the meeting and make suggestions as to how to proceed.
Check back for more tips on how to prepare for an IEP meeting.