If you have a child who requires special education services, then you will likely be meeting with school teachers and administrators on a regular basis. These meetings ensure your child is receiving the support he or she needs and they keep everyone on the same page.
If your child has an Individualized Education Program, one of these meetings you will attend every year is an IEP meeting. Whether you have been through these meetings before or not, it is important that you take some steps to prepare if you have one coming up.
- Review any plan that is currently in place. Make sure you are familiar with the requirements addressed in the plan and the goals that were set. Even if you think you remember, you should look it over to be sure. Reviewing a plan can be especially important if the school drafted a version of the IEP before the meeting.
- Talk to your child. Ask about their goals, their frustrations and their overall experience in school. Because your child is the one directly affected by an IEP, it is crucial that it reflects a child's wishes and eliminates any pain points or unnecessary obstacles.
- Make a list of all your questions, accolades or concerns. Preparing these in advance ensures nothing is overlooked. There are many people and agenda items involved in IEP meetings and having a list prepared ahead of time allows you to stay organized.
- Don't be afraid to ask for help. IEP meetings can be frustrating and overwhelming, particularly if there are concerns regarding the implementation of the plan. You do not have to attend these meetings or tackle these problems alone; an attorney experienced in special education law can attend these meetings with you and ensure your child's educational needs are being met.
You can find additional suggestions and tips for preparing for an IEP meeting in articles like this one.
Any meeting with school administrators and teachers has the potential to be stressful and frustrating, particularly if your child requires additional attention or services. These tips can help you get into a position where you can best advocate for your child and ensure these meetings are productive.