Preparing for your child’s IEP meeting can feel like a daunting task fraught with uncertainty. At BCOTB we are here to support you through this process and give you some tips to make this preparation more understandable and less stressful. While the following tips are not intended to be comprehensive, they serve as a good starting point for preparing for this important meeting. If you still feel like you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to your child’s analyst for assistance and recommendations.
Ask who will be in attendance:
Knowing who to expect in a meeting will help you to think ahead and draft questions for specific people. You may also wish to invite staff that you thought would be attending the meeting but are not on the list the school provides you. Sometimes it’s difficult to schedule IEP meetings so that all relevant parties are included, but it’s important that everyone makes an effort to do so.
Decide if you want an advocate and/or outside therapists to attend:
It’s often helpful to have your child’s therapists and/or an advocate attend IEP meetings. Your child’s therapist(s) can bring valuable information about your child’s skill level, current goals, and interventions presently in place. If you are discussing behavioral recommendations or concerns regarding your child’s behavior in class, you may want to consider having a Behavior Analyst attend the meeting to further support the school’s behavior specialist or school psychologist with recommendations for interventions.
A good IEP advocate brings knowledge of the law and the school’s responsibility to your child. If you think your child’s school is not being held accountable, or you find that you need legal protection, an IEP advocate has both legal knowledge and a professional network with district level personnel that can help in these tough situations. If you are in need of an advocate, BCOTB can make a referral to help you with your search.
Request a Draft of the IEP:
It’s always beneficial to request a draft of the IEP before your child’s meeting. This will allow you time to review your child’s IEP and makes notes where you may have questions or comments.
Pay special attention to the following parts of the IEP:
- Review your child’s goals and assess whether you are in agreement with them.
- You may wish to share these goals with outside therapists and get their input on whether they find the same goals to be appropriate. You may even look for suggestions for other goals to add to your child’s plan.
- Your child’s goals should be worded in objective and observable terms. For example, a goal might specify that your child will perform a skill to a certain level of accuracy with or without prompts. The goal might further specify the setting where your child will perform this skill or whether he or she will receive special instruction or reinforcement-based consequences.
- Look under this heading to see if your child has a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) or Positive Behavior Intervention Plan (PBIP). If he or she has one, request a copy of this plan. You might also want to request that the school psychologist or behavior specialist attend the meeting.
- Feel free to have one of our analysts review either one of these assessments and ensure that the therapy your child receives in-clinic is supportive of the school’s plan.
- If your child has been having behavior difficulties and he or she does not have an FBA or PBIP, request that this assessment be provided.
- This section lists classroom accommodations that will be made available to your child. Check out these sites for ideas on accommodations you may not have considered:
Compile all progress reports and notes home:
Make sure that you come to the meeting with any paperwork that has been sent home since the last IEP meeting. You want to ensure that any concerns the school may address in the meeting have already been reflected in their communication with you. If these concerns have not been addressed and/or there have not been appropriate interventions put in place to remediate such concerns, you have a good case to push the school into action. Do not allow a change in your child’s placement before data have been collected and interventions put in place to help remediate issues occurring during instructional activities.
Remember your rights!
- Remember that you have a right to bring whomever you wish to an IEP meeting.
- You have the right to call an IEP meeting at any time.
- All efforts should be made to provide you with a meeting time that is feasible for you to attend.
- If you find that your child’s school is not being held accountable for implementing the IEP or if you experience any other issue, consider contacting your ESE Area Supervisor:
The following sites serve as great resources for information concerning IEP law and legislation:
If you need any assistance with your child’s IEP meeting, BCOTB is here to help! Please visit our page on IEP support or discuss your concerns with your child’s analyst.