It's the beginning of the new school year and it's time to think about requesting an IEP meeting for your child but you are not certain what the steps are to begin a meeting. If you are not familiar with the IEP process, it can be an intimidating process for most parents.
You must be proactive and know your rights to ensure your child has the best quality education and learn how to advocate through the special education system. These are some important steps that are needed to provide your child the best outcome.
Request an IEP meeting to review and revise your child's IEP at any time. The law requires you to have at least an IEP meeting annually. If you feel your child is not making sufficient progress or if he or she is struggling in the general education environment. There is information or concerns shared by the parent or teacher. Also if there has been a new evaluation or revaluation. Your request should be in writing however, the law does not require for you to put it in writing. This way you increase the odds that a school staff member will follow up on your request promptly and you have documentation if the school says they never received the letter. Federal law and federal special education regulations do not provide a time limit for reviewing and revising IEPs. Check your state's special regulations to see if your state created timelines.
Focus on what your goal is for your child and negotiate with the school to obtain the best education for your child. Build a working relationship with the school personnel.
Be prepared for the meeting by doing your research and gather information and review your child's file. Review the current IEP. Use test scores to monitor progress. Make an appointment with the teachers and other providers. Ask questions and take notes about their progress.
Become an advocate for your child and always ask "why." Remember you are a key team member of the IEP meeting. You can make a difference for your child and being an advocate will provide the most appropriate education.
Educate your self and read about your special education rights. There is many organizations and books to prepare you for the IEP meeting. One book that comes to mind is "All about IEPS" by Peter and Pamela Wright. They also have a website. Wrightslaw Special