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Tips for a Successful IEP Meeting

Learn what to do before, during and after an IEP meeting.

By GreatSchools Staff

As a parent, do you approach IEP meetings with fear and dread? If so, here are some suggestions to help you feel more at ease and able to participate as a full member of the team that plans your child's special education program.

Before the Meeting:

  • Build a positive relationship with at least one person on the IEP team, such as the classroom teacher, principal, or school psychologist, before the meeting. Such a relationship will help you feel more comfortable and know someone else hears your point of view.
  • Plan ahead and put your thoughts down on paper, so you won't forget to mention what's important to you during the meeting. Print out and fill out the IEP Planning Form. Know the purpose and format of the IEP meeting and who will be there ahead of time. That way you won't be surprised by the number of people around the table or the process being followed.
  • If you wish to share the results of a private evaluation with the IEP team, send copies of the reports to the team ahead of time so they can be familiar with the data before the meeting, rather than take valuable time during the meeting to review them. In some cases parents may feel that sharing this report (or particular aspects of the report) will not be of benefit to the IEP process; it's your choice whether to do so.
  • Review current reports, last year's IEP (if applicable), and Parents' Rights and Responsibilities sent to you annually.

Comments from readers

"I think it's grate to have all of the teachers in the room "
"The best thing I ever did was hire an outside psychological educational consultant to do a private evaluation and act as my advocate at the IEP meeting. Yes, this is expensive. However, he reviewed previous IEPs and did extensive observations. He was able to point out many things the teachers were doing wrong in the classroom. He was the only person that the child study team listened to at the meeting - they certainly don't care what I have to say. I found this person through a recommendation by an attorney that specialized in educational law. I now have evidence that proves my daughter was denied FAPE, which means I could proceed even further if I choose. This was the only way I could get respect and the program my daughter needed. SECOND best thing - bring a tape recorder to all meetings and then transcribe them. So enlightening to listen to the way the CST team disrespects the parent's contributions. "
"as parent aps/schools/parents reaching out/district supporter it a joke there don't help childen thay gave you a run around i been asking for help for 3yrs because i have a son that has down's and diabetes type 1 you do the best that you can as a parent is there any parent is go thought the some thing tell me about it."
"My child is in a 3rd grade CTT class with an IEP (since 12/08). She has ADHD and is LD in math, reading comprehension, writing, as well as functioning below grade level. The teacher stated that her learning would increase, but is hampered by her behavior. She has no Behavioral Intervention Plan and it was suggested to me to put her in a 12 to 1 class setting. Her last psycho-educational evaluation was 4/08. I requested a re-evaluation in March 09. But, I haven't heard anything from the school. The school year ends June 26th. I don't know what to do? What should be our next step(s) over the summer? My husband and I are so confused about special education. Please help!!!!!!"
"I agree with the 504 but it is sad that the school know about the program but do not tell the parent. My daughter is 8yrs old and has adhd i have been trying to get an iep since last year and the principal has given me the run around she told me that the 504 neede to be done by my child therapist and me. she never mention the school psycologist my daughter grades have dropped from b's to d's and she has unsatisfactory every day. So can you all please stress the importance of the 504 to principal so that parents can know that there is help for children with adhd cleve. public school parent empire computech"
"i have a son in first grade and the school is suggesting we put him in self-contained for the second grade because he is not reading on the proper level and his comprehension skills are behind and he is not independent enough with his writing. need feed back asap my iep meeting is march 2009 and me and my husband don't know if that's best for him. help!!!! "