Individualized Education Program (IEP)

This checklist can help you work through the IEP process.

When an IEP meeting is coming soon, allow yourself time to stop stop signand get readyclip board.          

__ Identify where your child is at in the Special Education Services process.

___ Receive notice of the IEP meeting.  It should give adequate time and be convenient.

It should give adequate time and be convenient. If day/time does not work, request a different one and consider giving a couple of options.  If absolutely nothing can be worked out, ask to attend by phone.

___ Know the meeting space.  Room clear, any accommodations needed?

___ Learn about who will be attending.  Consider if anyone else needs to be invited.

Suggest nametags for members on the IEP Team so everyone feels comfortable. Parents may invite anyone with knowledge or special expertise about their child. Paraprofessionals, Specials teachers, and after school program personnel often have unique insight about the children they work with and may be included if asked. If attending the meeting alone, consider inviting a family member or friend who knows you and your child well.  He/she can help take notes, remind you of priorities shared, and give moral support.  As with any gathering, it is polite to inform all involved ahead of time.

___ Request that reports are sent ahead of time

This isn’t necessarily standard practice everywhere, so it may take a bit of patience and organization at first. The outcome is worth it, as you’ll have time to process and note questions needing to be answered.  You’ll also gain greater understanding about your child’s present level of performance. This identifies areas of need related to your child’s disability.   First a present level is understood, then goals are developed, after which supports and services to help your child reach his or her goals are discussed.

Get set! person on starting line for a race

____ Familiarize yourself with the parts of an IEP and how the document looks/works, as well as resources that can help you better understand the IEP process.

  1. Present Levels of Academic Achievement & Functional Performance (Pg. 9)
  2. Annual goals (Pg. 11)
  3. Measuring Your Child’s Progress (Pg. 12)
  4. Services and Supports (Pg. 13)
  5. Participation with Children without Disabilities (Pg. 17)
  6. Modification to State or District-Wide Assessments (Pg. 18)
  7. Location and Duration of Services (Pg. 19)
  8. Reporting Your Child’s Progress (Pg. 19)
  9. Transition Services (Pg. 19)

____  Prioritize your concerns.

Develop a precise list that speaks directly to the IEP.  (Keep communication open with teachers and service providers at all times, so that daily/weekly/monthly concerns and celebrations are shared on a continual basis. Whenever possible, build relationships and put steps for success in place.)

____  Think about and practice how you will speak about your concerns while keeping in mind there may be a number of different solutions to meet them

Example:  A mom came to an IEP meeting stating her child needed a full-time aide, and she would accept nothing less.  After more discussion, it came to be understood that her main concern was a need for her child’s safety during unstructured periods. The teacher shared a similar concern. Brainstorming minds got to work looking for a variety of solutions. The school added a support person during recesses.  Then, different school personnel and volunteers each offered a day of the week to lunch with the child and his peers (a custodian, volunteer, Grandpa etc). The plan also included supports to increase the child’s own ability to stay safe

____   Think about school issues and be ready to suggest solutions

____   Suggest an advance meeting

They can be extremely helpful. Some schools openly offer Pre-IEP meetings on a regular basis. Others do not. Yet if it seems there is a lot to discuss, ask.  If such a request is not accommodated, go back to the Get Ready list and make sure you have what is needed to feel prepared.  Another alternative is an informal check-in with the teacher as a starting point.  Voice your priorities or any questions so that a pre-picture of the plan can be developed.

On occasion it has been known for a school to work on an IEP document in steps, while noting it is a draft.

____   Take a picture of your child. Is your child ready to attend?

____   Take a deep breath, remember to seek and share the positive and possible.

Go! traffic signal

Looking for additional resources?  IEP- More Resources

IEP 101 (English)– from the Michigan Alliance for Families Webinar Series

 

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