Before scheduling an IEP meeting to discuss your concerns, do some homework. Your initial concern may not be the primary cause of your child’s difficulty.
1. List each of your concerns. Next, look for data to support your concerns. Talk with the teacher informally if this feels comfortable.
2. Gather your child’s IEP and any assessments. If you aren’t sure you have everything, write a letter asking the school to provide you with copies. The school has 5 days to provide you with the information that you requested.
3. Review the assessments and IEP papers and make sure you understand these documents. If you need help with this, give us a call at 1-800-866-4726 or email at email@example.com. We will put you in touch with our PTI staff assisting parents one on one in your area. You can also check our PTI map to find out which of our PTI’s is serving your area as well as their staff’s contact information.
IMPORTANT: The IEP is developed from assessment information. If something is missing or incorrect in the assessment, it may be the cause of why the IEP isn’t working well.
4. If the assessment doesn’t cover areas of concern, you might need to ask for additional assessment.
5. Check to see if key issues in the assessment are addressed somewhere in the IEP i.e. goals, accommodations, services, or a behavior plan.
6. If all key issues are covered, maybe your child needs more time receiving current services or maybe the goals need to be more specific and measurable.
7. Sometimes the issue is that you need to be given the data to show what progress is being made on the goals. While the IEP must state how progress will be measured, schools don’t need to provide specific data on interim reports.
8. If all key issues are not linked to something in the IEP, you might find you need to ask for additional or different services.
NOTE: Sometimes a parent agrees with how the IEP is written and the IEP matches the assessment. The concern then may be that the IEP isn’t being implemented as it is written.
9. If you find the IEP isn’t being followed, maybe this can be better understood with a call or email to the principal and school Special Education staff. If the issue seems complex, having an IEP meeting to discuss this may be best. Remember when asking for an IEP meeting, put your request in writing. The school has 30 days to hold the meeting after receiving your request. (There is no specific timeline in Texas.)
FINALLY: An IEP is not written in stone. It can be changed as needed. Individual Education Plans are meant to assist your child in making progress on their goals and to access the General Education curriculum. IEPs do not guarantee results and do not mean your student will be taught individually. IEPs should address your child’s needs in an individualized and meaningful plan.
From Matrix Parents Network & Resource Center, www.matrixparents.org