IEP meetings are held at least once per year for every special needs student in the school district. This meeting will include the parents, the teachers and school administration representation. However, some school districts may not be on the ball, and parents may feel that their children are falling through the cracks. Here is what you should know about planning for the first IEP meeting of the new school year.
Request a Meeting Early
Mid-summer is a great time to request the IEP meeting to set goals for the new school year. In fact, some parents prefer to start even earlier than this. By waiting until August or September, your child may be left without proper support and accommodations for the first part of the school year.
Bring along Paperwork
Be sure to come to the IEP meeting prepared. Bring the IEP from last year as well as test scores, school and independent evaluations and report cards. Even notes that you have made over the past year and notes from your child’s teachers can be helpful in formulating a new plan.
Many IEP meetings can turn into stressful circumstances as parents find themselves at odds with school teachers and staff. You may disagree about placement or special accommodations for your child. However, the best way to get what you need is to stay positive. Try not to be defensive or to raise your voice. If you cannot get what you believe your child needs, try bringing along a representative to your next meeting.
Get a Copy
Be sure that you walk away from the meeting with a full copy of your child’s IEP. You can use this information to hold the school district responsible for what it has promised. Plus, you will feel better having specific examples of what your child will be learning and how he or she will be progressing throughout the year. You are entitled to receive a free copy of the IEP.