Preparing for Your Kids Annual IEP Meeting
An IEP or Individualized Education Program stands for a plan that summarizes the support and services your child needs to succeed in school. The IEP also includes educational goals your kid can practically accomplish with these supports.
A child qualifies for an IEP if he has a disability that adversely influences his learning and performance in school. Additionally, he must require special education or other services to participate and progress in the general education program.
After an IEP has been set up for your child, you’ll get to review the plan in an annual meeting to ensure it’s designed to meet your kid’s needs. Since these meetings can be daunting and overwhelming, you can prepare by following these tips.
Proceedings at the Meeting
To begin with, you should have a clear idea of what to expect at the IEP annual meeting.
You and your kid’s educators will review their observations and data to evaluate the child’s present performance in school and his progress toward the IEP’s annual goals. Together, you’ll revise your kid’s goals for the forthcoming school year.
Next, you’ll talk about how effective your child’s current accommodations and supports are, if any of these supports are pointless and if additional accommodations are required based on his present performance and new academic objectives.
After the changes to the IEP are noted, you’ll have to sign them. You can take time to think, if necessary, before signing them.
This meeting is your opportunity to support your child and ascertain his individual educational requirements are fulfilled.
Be Aware of Your Rights
You have some legal rights, including:
- Recording the meeting, provided you inform the school 24 hours in advance.
- Participating via phone if you can’t attend the meeting in person.
- Bring an advocate or a trusted friend to the meeting and communicate to the school about the person who’ll accompany you.
- Bring a lawyer to the IEP meeting, if it’s essential.
- The presence of an interpreter or translator if you speak a language other than English or are deaf.
Talk to your kid’s educators ahead of the meeting to avoid being blindsided or experiencing surprises. Know about your kid’s recent performance in school to create goals and recommend revisions to the IEP.
Review your kid’s present IEP and progress toward attaining his goals, and arrange any necessary paperwork. When you’re well-informed, you can feel more comfortable, participate in the meeting at par with the rest of the IEP team, and back your child’s interests more effectively.
It’s prudent to plan ahead regarding the goals or accommodations you’re inclined to suggest and back them up with proper reasoning. At the meeting, speak your mind and share your insights about the child instead of leaving everything to the rest of the IEP team.
Don’t Shy Away From Asking Questions
If you don’t understand something or need clarifications about educational abbreviations and jargon used by the rest of the IEP team, ask questions and seek explanations. As a parent, it’s crucial for you to understand and participate actively in the meeting.
Ensure to get a copy of your kid’s completed IEP from the school. Read it thoroughly, and talk regularly to his educators to check his progress and ascertain that he’s getting all suitable accommodations and support.
If you aren’t satisfied with the IEP and need changes, send a written request to the school.
These tips will help you act as a better advocate for your child and ensure he gets the necessary support to learn and do well in school.