Preparing to attend an IEP Meeting? These are 10 questions every parent should ask the team in an IEP meeting!
I want this post to provide support for families and be able to express myself clearly. I have served as a special education teacher for many years in the school system. I have sat in on hundreds of IEPs and intervention meetings. They are a regular part of my work week. And they don’t have to be scary or intimidating!
Why would I say that? Well it provides a chance for families and all staff that works with that child to communicate and brainstorm. It is a chance to create a plan to help children who need support. It provides a chance to create a truly individualized plan to meet the students’ needs.
An IEP meeting is a chance for school personnel and parents to communicate. The one thing I say to every parent before an IEP meeting is to be prepared. Make sure you have done your homework. An IEP meeting can be an amazingly positive experience if everyone is able to communicate clearly.
A FEW THINGS TO DO BEFORE AN IEP MEETING:
-observe in your child’s current classroom setting if allowed
-reread their expiring IEP if they already have one…..do you feel their academic and behavioral goals have been met? Be prepared to share YOUR thoughts.
-make a list of concerns and a list of accomplishments. What is going WELL? What is still a struggle?
-research the academic standards for your child’s grade level…….consider where they currently fall in terms of those standards. They may need support still, and that’s TOTALLY fine. But the more you’ve thought about these long term goals….the more prepared you’ll be to speak to them and to listen to the team.
-be prepared to ask questions (a lot of them)
IEP Meetings: 10 Questions Every Parent Should Ask
- How can I contact you? Ask each member of the IEP Meeting Team the BEST way to contact them. Let them know you’ll be checking in regularly.
- When is a good time to have an informal conversation about my child’s progress? Teachers are more than willing to chat and meet about your child. However their day is often very busy, so it is best to ask them what time would work the best.
- What do you see as my child’s strengths? How can I support and encourage them? An IEP meeting should not be all about weaknesses. Ask how you can support your child’s strengths and passions. These strengths and passions are what will make your kiddo successful as an adult.
- What type of progress can I expect to see? What will this look like? The great thing about an IEP meeting is that you get the input of specialists. But that’s also the toughest at times. Acronyms, teacher speak, developmental milestones….it can be VERY overwhelming. After each IEP section, ask the team…….what should this LOOK like? How long will it be before I see progress? What are the signs that we are moving in the right directions? What should I watch out for?
- What can I do at home to support our goals? For students to make the most progress (emotionally or academically), goals needs to be fluid between school and home. Ask the team…..what can I do at home? Ask for specific suggestions.
- Which of these goals are the top priority? Between behavioral goals and academic goals…..by the end of an IEP meeting, you’ll feel like your head is spinning. An important thing to ask…..which of these is top priority? Is it behavioral (transitioning to school, for instance)? Is it academic (phonemic awareness….you need to read before you can write or comprehend text)? Ask the team. That way, you’ll know what to focus on in discussions about school.
- How will we measure progress? How will we communicate about this with my child? Progress towards goals (both academic and behavioral) can be measured in many ways. Will the team be using test scores? A running record with observations of the child? A tally system of behaviors being exhibited (or not exhibited)?
- What do these supports look like on a daily basis? How will my child’s day look? Academic and behavior supports can be provided in MANY ways. Will the supports be a pull-out model (student removed from the class for small group support) or a push-in model (the support staff blends in to the classroom for a period of time)? You should know EXACTLY what your child’s day looks like!
- Who will provide these supports? How will my child’s classroom teacher be provided with resources and assistance to implement these supports? The best thing about having a support team in place? Everyone helps EACH OTHER (that includes you mom and dad)! Ask questions. How can you support the teacher? How can the speech therapist support you?
- What would YOU do if this were YOUR child? An IEP meeting can often be all business. In the end….what would I want to know? If this were your own family member, what would you suggest? Trust me, you’ll get some pretty honest answers.