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Prepare for the IEP Meeting

Below are the tips I learned to prepare for IEP meetings throughout the year, before the meeting, on your way out your door, at the meeting, and between meetings.

Throughout the year:

  • Supply your child's teachers and providers with success strategies that work for you at home. 
  • As you find more info out about your child or his condition, share it with the team. 
  • Keep open communication with your child's teacher (I created a daily journal). 
  • Keep documentation and files in an orderly and portable manner (I have his files in a rolling briefcase which I take to every meeting). 
  • Respond quickly and follow through when your teacher or child expresses concern.

Before the meeting:

  • Ask your child's teacher for a draft of the educational goals for you to review prior to the meeting,

  • Know your child's rights...read the "Blue Book" before the meeting,

  • Jot down a list of your concerns and requests  (amount of minutes/types of therapy, transportation, modifications, etc.) also list out your child's strengths,

  • Bring any documentation that may be helpful (recent medical results, articles on your child's condition, etc.),

  • Ask permission ahead of time if you wish to record (audio/video tape) the meeting.

On your way out your door...make sure you have:

  • Notepad/pen,
  • Your child's medical/educational files,
  • Recording device if applicable,
  • Picture of your child (the school providers that aren't with your child everyday have many other students and many IEP meetings...there's a slight possibility they could get kids mixed up),
  • Bottled water for yourself, your advocate (if applicable) and possibly the team if you think it's going to be a long or tough meeting.

At the Meeting:

  • Arrive early and get an end seat if possible so you can see everyone's faces clearly.
  • Spread your notes out in front of you so you're sure to mention everything, check things off as they are discussed, also place your child's picture in front of you and mention it's there to help you focus on who you're there for.
  • Be prepared/willing to speak in your child's behalf.
  • Stay calm and focused.  It's easy to get defensive, especially when they are reviewing your child's weaknesses, but keep a clear and open mind.
  • Remember...you have the right to ask to end the meeting (to reconvene at a later date) if you do/can not agree with the rest of the team's recommendations.

Between Meetings:

If you are stumped between meetings visit our Parents and Child Rights page and start sending e-mails to every potential advocate you can find.  It's amazing how much support is out there once you ask.

 

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