Top Twenty Tips for Getting the IEP your Child Needs

  1. Start with data. What is your child able to do? Accurate, data driven, present levels of performance are essential.
  2. Evaluations. (current and comprehensive)
  3. Develop an Agenda for the IEP meeting. Circulate this in advance.
  4. Get organized.
  5. Be clear and concise in your discussions with the school.
  6. Remain calm and respectful. It is easier to dismiss an angry or emotional parent.
  7. Request draft goals in advance. (at least 5 days before the meeting)
  8. Request (insist) on getting copies of any evaluations prior to the meeting.
  9. If you have a private evaluation this also should be shared with the school personnel (at least 5 days before the IEP meeting).
  10. Determine what your priorities are for the upcoming school year. Not everything can happen in a year.
  11.  Ask the IEP team to explain how they intend to get where they want to go educationally with your child. Simple enough. Oftentimes, schools have trouble answering those questions.
  12. Agree in advance on the length of the meeting. Avoid marathon IEP meetings.
  13.  If the school personnel have done things that have been helpful to your child acknowledge those along with your concerns.
  14. Breathe.
  15.  Ask for very specific information on how often and the format for the delivery of related services. For example, will speech therapy be in a group, how many students, when are the services delivered?
  16. Take your time. If you need time to reflect after the meeting don’t be afraid to ask for a few additional days to review the goals and other documents.
  17. Focus on Transition. Where do you want to end up? Transition planning should not be an afterthought. Starting early is important.
  18. Agree on a to do list. Oftentimes, there are follow up tasks in an IEP meeting. Determine who will be responsible for the tasks and the time line for getting those accomplished.
  19. Determine if any additional data is needed.
  20. Review the IEP document and ask for clarification or send your own letter correcting, clarifying or disagreeing.
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About Micki Moran

Micki Moran is the founding partner of The Child and Family Law Center, Ltd. She dedicates her practice to providing legal assistance to children and families who are in need of representation in the areas of special education, disability law, juvenile and young adult criminal law, abuse and neglect, guardianship, and mental health issues. Micki's practice is founded on the principle that children and their families require and deserve excellent legal representation with a multidisciplinary approach that works with multiple systems of care and creates communities that support and improve the quality of all peoples' lives.
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