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Preparing For Your IEP Meeting: Before, During and After There’s no doubt: An IEP is an extremely important document in your child’s education. It is very complex. so understanding the IEP process is critical. Here are some tips to relieve some of the anxiety: BEFORE THE IEP MEETING 1. More Than Just Once A Year: As the parent, you have the right to ask for an IEP meeting as often as you think is necessary (and reasonable) during the school year. Write a letter to the principal asking for the meeting. 2. Ask For Copies Before The Meeting: �������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� specialist asking for copies of any evaluation results or the proposed “draft” of the IEP. Ask to have these copies sent to you at least three days before the IEP meeting so you have time to review them and write down your questions, concerns and ideas. CAREFUL! The slightest change, even one word, can dramatically change the IEP. Lay the new IEP right next to the old IEP and - I’m very serious here - compare the new IEP against the old one, WORD FOR WORD, NUMBER FOR NUMBER. Here’s why: Unfortunately, some school staff will omit, delete and/or change parts of the IEP without telling you. In one IEP meeting the ������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������ plan from the new IEP. When we noticed it was gone she said, “Oh, I didn’t think he needed it anymore!” Well, we disagreed, and requested it stay on the IEP, which it did. 4 www.BrightFeats.com/SpaceCoast 3. The School Must Tell You In Advance Who Is Coming To The IEP Meeting: This is called “Prior Written Notice.” The positions of attendees, not necessarily the individuals’ names, should be listed on the ������������������������������������������������������������������������������ before the IEP meeting. DURING THE IEP MEETING 1. A Child Can Qualify For An IEP And Services Even If They Have Excellent Grades: The U.S. Dept. of Education has ruled “... the term ‘educational performance’ as used in the IDEA is not limited to academic performance.” Even a child with straight A’s can qualify for an IEP if they’re struggling in an area other than academics. 2. If You Don’t Want To Sign The IEP: You may not be making a comfortable decision while you’re in the meeting. You do not have to sign the IEP. Ask to have a few days to take everything into consideration. You can sign the IEP and write next to your name, “Parent signs for attendance purposes only.” I recommend you get in the practice of doing this for all your IEP’s, even those you agree with. 3. Warning! Before Giving The School Permission: The school may present you with forms for you to sign giving them permission to contact your child’s pediatrician, specialists, or therapists. They may tell you they would like to talk to these professionals to better understand your child’s diagnosis, behavior, or therapy care plan. Their intent by Pam Lindemann, The IEP Advocate


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