How to have a successful IEP meeting with the school

 An individualized education plan (IEP )is a legal document developed for each public school for a child who needs special education. It is created with the help of the child's parents and school professionals who are knowledgeable of the child's needs. It is individualized to every child. It describes how the student learns, how they can demonstrate their learning and what kind of supports and services will be provided to them. It lasts for the entire school year and has to be reviewed every year to keep track of student's progress.

Parents are an expert on their child and they know them the best. They are the most important IEP team members as they know their child's strengths, needs, motivators, and triggers. Parents are the best advocates for their children as they want their children to succeed.

The IEP meeting is required by law at least once a year to plan an individualized educational program for the needs of special needs children. This meeting is attended by the child's parent, their special education teacher and other paraprofessionals and professionals who will be helping the child.

Today I am going to give you a few tips for a successful IEP meeting.

1)Gather and organize all paperwork for the IEP as it involves a lot of paperwork. Make sure you have a copy of the child's IEP, their progress reports, ask for work samples from teachers. Look at the progress reports to see if your child is making progress and areas where they are struggling. what supports and services are helpful. Ask for an agenda for the meeting beforehand.

2)It will be beneficial if you want to take either a friend, family member or a professional who works with your child to the meeting. Inform the school you will be bringing a support person to the meeting.

3)Create a list of your questions and concerns after you review your child's progress reports. if something is not working offer suggestions as you know your child the best. Speak up, ask questions and address any concerns you have about your child's needs and areas of need.

4)Parents need to be aware of their children's goals and let the team know their expectations for their children. Ask a question on what kind of instructional approaches will be used to help your child achieve those goals. Make sure the goals are functional, which will help the child with autism be as independent as possible.

5) Share your expertise with the team as you are an expert on your child. talk about their strengths, needs, interests, triggers. Offer suggestions on how best your child learns.If possible take a video for the team to see as the school environment is different from the home environment. These are things your child might struggle with at school but will be able to do well at home. 

6)Advocate for yourself and your child. if there are certain terms in the IEP you do not understand ask for clarification. Do not agree right away and sign the forms. Take the documents home, review them ask any questions or concerns before signing them.

7)IEP is a team endeavour. Make sure you work in collaboration with the team.IEP should be child-focused.

8)Follow up after the meeting to make sure everything which was discussed in the meeting is documented. Make sure all the things discussed in the meeting are documented

9) Sometimes there will be things you will be told no during the meeting so ask for alternative options which will help to meet your child's needs.

A parent can request an IEP meeting at any time. It could be because your child has achieved some goals and they need to work on more goals, it can also be your child is struggling to achieve a particular goal and you want the IEP team to offer a different instructional approach or services.

I hope I have given you some strategies today for having a productive IEP meeting.


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