Tips to Equip Video: How to Prepare for Your Child’s IEP (Part 1)

Oct 28, 2023 | Articles, Videos



Parent’s preparation for the upcoming IEP team meeting

In part one of this IEP Tips to Equip Series, we will discuss the parent’s preparation for the upcoming IEP team meeting.

It’s important to start with a purpose of the IEP team meeting. The IEP team meeting will create a child’s special education program. The IEP should be designed to allow your child to make meaningful progress and to prepare them for independent living, further education, and employment.

You as the parent play a critical role as a member of the IEP team meeting. In fact, the law considers you an equal participant. It’s very important for a parent to take an active role in their child’s education because a parent has a lot of information that can be helpful to the IEP team.

Such information can include how the child learns, as well as their strengths and weaknesses. So, being an active participant can help make a more meaningful IEP for your child.

Preparation for the IEP team meeting is imperative. Events at the IEP meeting can go very quickly. Assessments and reports are referenced, information is provided, updates are given, and unless you prepare ahead of time, it can slip by you very quickly.
So consider the following steps to prepare for this upcoming IEP team meeting.

IEP Tip to Equip #1.

Check the IEP notice date and time.

If the date or time doesn’t work for you, or any participant you intend to invite, quickly respond to the district in writing that this date is not convenient. And I would suggest offering alternative dates so that you can speed up the process of getting the IEP team meeting set.

EP Tip to Equip #2

Note the purpose of the IEP team meeting.

On the meeting notice, there will be an indication as to the purpose of the meeting. For example, it could be the initial IEP, or the annual IEP, or the triennial IEP.
In understanding the purpose of the meeting, you’l be better able to prepare for the meeting. For example, if it’s an initial IEP meeting, the team is going to discuss and possibly focus on eligibility. Does your child meet the eligibility criteria under one of the applicable eligibility categories?
In an annual IEP, the law requires the team to meet at least once a year to update the student’s information, including setting new present levels of performance, new goals, etc. So they’ll be discussion about your child’s progress during the year, if your child has any new needs, and whether the services are working.
A triennial IEP meeting occurs because the law requires some form of reassessment every three years to update your child's profile. So this IEP is typically going to involve a number of assessments in the areas that your child has needs, for example, speech language, occupational therapy, academics, behavior, etc. Soit’s particularly important to get the assessments before the meeting so you can review them and attempt to understand them. You can also note any questions you might have ahead of time that you can present at the IEP team meeting.

IEP Tip to Equip #3

Request your child’s educational records and review them.

At least a few weeks in advance of the IEP team meeting, make a written request to the school requesting your child’s special education and general education records. And then review these records thoroughly in order to properly prepare
for your child’s IEP team meeting.

An IEP binder is a great way to keep all of these records in one place. You can sort the records by school year, or by assessments or IEP’s, but come up with a system whereby you can quickly reference documentation during the IEP
meeting. This way you can follow along with the team in constructing your child’s program.
In this record review, review any progress reports, and pay close attention to the most recent IEP. Look at any assessment reports that may have been conducted recently. Determine your child’s strengths and weaknesses, and their present levels of performance.
The key question is are they making progress? It’s probably most important to focus on your child's last IEP. Take a careful look and determine whether your child has made progress since last year. Look at the past present levels that were written year ago. Have they changed? Has your child made adequate progress from where he or she was a year ago?

And think about which goals your child is making the most progress on, or even the least progress on. And consider some new goals that you would like to see your child achieve. And look for topics that need attention. A lot can change since the last year’s IEP, so consider any new issues that may have arisen. Think about what your child needs for the upcoming school year.


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