Many parents and caregivers are learning for the first time what an individualized educational plan or IEP is used for.
I’m not going to sugar coat it, it’s been quite scary for me. Each time I enter these meetings I feel just as anxious as the last. Somehow wondering if I’ve done enough to make sure educators and support staff know everything they can to ensure my son is safe and cared for to be able to learn in his own way.
I for one, have at times, felt in the dark and powerless in what has gone into my sons IEP.
It has taken several years for me to discover parents and caregivers have a lot of say in what goes into these plans.
Things to keep in mind when looking over your IEP and heading into a meeting:
1. Write a list of issues that you feel are important.
2. Prepare your own questions and items to address.
3. To be prepared for the process, request the school provide you with evaluations, proposed goals, objectives, and placement recommendations prior to the meeting.
4. Written notice of the IEP meeting will include a list of participants. If you’d like a speech therapist (or any other person) who works with your child there regularly that is your right.
5. Keep in mind this year may look differently and may be a virtual meeting.
You can request a meeting to discuss an IEP at any time. If you feel it is not being followed, speak up and put it in writing, this is important. There is a legal obligation to follow an IEP.