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How to get your IEP ready for the upcoming school year

A new school year is just a matter of weeks away, and as a parent, you may already be thinking about what your child will need to start a new year off strong.

For instance, if your child has special needs, in the coming weeks you will want to review his or her Individualized Education Program, prepare for an annual review meeting and/or request reevaluation, if appropriate. 

Reviewing an IEP

Your child may enter a new school year with the same IEP he or she had at the end of last year. If that's the case, make sure you review the details of the IEP and make sure they still meet your child's needs. If you think changes are necessary, you can contact the school.

Preparing for an annual review

An IEP must be reviewed every year. If your annual review is coming up, you should prepare accordingly. This can mean talking about what's working, addressing challenges associated with the current IEP and discussing any changes to your child's needs, capabilities or academic goals. 

Requesting (or deciding against) reevaluation

As this article notes, reevaluations can be necessary in some situations. Some parents decide against them or do not pursue them. In these cases, parents may have to state these wishes in writing. If a child's needs have changed since an initial evaluation, then requesting reevaluation can be wise. This can happen once every three years, if your child is going to college or if your child's needs have changed since he or she was previously evaluated and deemed ineligible. Note that a reevaluation is not an annual review; it is a comprehensive evaluation. 

Having an IEP in place when your child starts a new school year is important, but parents must be sure that it accurately reflects a child's needs. Taking these steps to review, revise and reevaluate the plan before school even starts can give you and your child confidence in the year ahead.

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