Special Education and Regional Center Blog
Helping Parents Navigate the Special Education, the Regional Center, and IHSS program.
IEP Meeting can be stressful, but being well prepared can help lower that stress. Take these steps to help your next IEP meeting to run smoothly.
1. Request Records.
If you do not have a current complete set of educational records, request a set. In California, the district has five business days to produce the records.
2. Organize and Review Records.
Either use a binder or an electric notebook (I like OneNote) to organize the records. Possible tabs could be assessments/reports, IEPs, correspondence, and resources. Familiarize yourself with the records. Review the current IEP. Make notes regarding the progress towards goals.
3. Record the Meeting.
Inform the district in writing that you will be recording this (and all future) IEPs.
4. Private Assessments.
Provide the district with any outside or private assessments that you want the IEP team to consider or review at the IEP meeting.
5. Invite a Guest, Advocate, and/or Attorney.
Decide who you want to be with you at the meeting. This could be a friend or family member, a professional who works with your child. If you chose to bring someone to the IEP, you should let the district know prior to the IEP meeting.
6. Work on Collaborative Mindset.
While not all IEP meetings can be unicorns and rainbows, it is important to approach the meeting in a collaborative mindset. Generally, the teachers, therapists, and administrators care about your child and want the best for him or her. Sentences like “How do you think we can work together to make this happen” help facilitate conversation.
7. Request Any New Assessments Before the IEP.
As a parent and attorney, I consider this possibly the most important part of preparing for an IEP. You do not want to go into an IEP without reading the assessments that will be discussed in the meeting. There are a few reasons that this is important. As a parent, it is often difficult hearing about your child’s shortcomings or deficits. Reading the assessment will give you time to digest this bad or hurtful information. You can go into the meeting ready to discuss the assessment from a practical, not emotional standpoint. Next, you should read the assessment for typos or anything that does not sound like your child. Make notes to discuss these issues at the IEP when the assessment is being discussed. Finally, make a list of questions you have regarding this assessment. Taking these steps will help you discuss the assessment with confidence.
8. Make a Game Plan.
Think about what you want to accomplish at the IEP. You need to know what you want to achieve. It might be more services, update goals, or adding more general education time. I like to make a game plan of a few issues that need to be addressed and stick to those points in the IEP. Sometimes speaking to an advocate or an attorney can be helpful in formulating the plan.
If you need help preparing for your next IEP, please contact me.