Sunday, August 10, 2014

Are you prepared for your child's IEP meeting? Here's your CHECKLIST.

Are you prepared for your child's IEP meeting?
Make a checklist of what you should do, minimally, to prepare:
  • Obtain your child's records in advance of the meeting.  The law allows you to do so without waiting 45 days (which is the time the school district or charter school can make you wait, unless you have a meeting where your child's identification, evaluation or placement are discussed.  
  • Review the records, especially your child's progress reports over the last two years.
  • Graph the progress - making a graph help you actually see the progress.
  • Invite all the people you want to participate, even if they can only participate via phone, such as the other parent, step-parents, outside evaluators, etc.  Remember that they all become members of the IEP team!
  • If you expect to have anyone of the people you invite attend via telephone, ask the school (the case manager or SPED director, or whoever is your contact at the school) to have a speaker phone available and a call in number, or make sure you can call out, including long distance if anyone is out of town or state, and at worst, make sure your cell phone is powered up and you know how to use the speaker on your cell phone.
  • Make sure the meeting is scheduled at a time and at a place that is mutually agreed upon, and that there will enough time to address all issues.
  • Make a list of the issues and concerns and questions you have.
  • Obtain a draft of the IEP in advance of the meeting.  
  • Decide if your child is old enough and/or mature enough to attend.  If you think the attendees don't know your child, then bring your child to introduce him or her to the attendees and then have arrangements for your child to leave the meeting when you deem it is no longer appropriate for him or her to remain in the meeting. 
  • Have your tape recorder ready, with enough battery power.
  • Make sure your "IEP" book is organized.  You can organize any way you like so long as you know where everything is.  You can group all IEPs together, all PWNs together, all tests together, for instance, or you can put each IEP in its own section along with the meeting notice(s), drafts, final and PWN(s) for that IEP.  You may want to put the PWNs on different color paper for ease of reference.
  • Read and re-read your parental rights in advance of the meeting.
  • Bring flash drive to meeting to obtain electronic copies - some schools will provide electronic copies at the meeting.
  • Make a note to remind yourself to request a draft of the IEP that was prepared at the meeting - BEFORE you leave the meeting.
  • At the meeting, remember to be cordial and respectful, just as you expect the school members of the IEP team to treat you.  

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