IEP Cheat Sheet, Quick & Dirty*

*Caution:  I’m not a professional parent, although I play one in real life.

Whether you’ve been to a few Individualized Education Plan meetings, or you’re getting ready for your first, below are my top-ten quick-pick favs for IEP meetings:

1.  Organize your paperwork chronologically and bring it.  Check ASNC’s world-famous autism bookstore for From Emotions to Advocacy by Pam and Pete Wright.  If you can’t get it together, the most important papers to bring are the current IEP and most recent evaluations.

2.  If there are members on the IEP team who’ve not yet met your child, bring a Positive Student Profile and pic with enough copies to hand out.

3.  Have your Parents’/Student’s’ Concerns and Parents’/Student’s Vision for the future already typed with copies for the team.  Always have concerns and a vision! (This needn’t be elaborate.)

4.  Pay attention to and participate in the wording of the Present level of academic and functional performance section, because this leads to the annual goal.

5.  Annual goals are based on Present level of performance.  Goals can be academic, functional, or social in order to access the general curriculum/standard course of study.  Goals must be measurable.

6.  Develop good communication skills (“Let me make sure I understand you correctly”…[And then repeat back what they said]).

7.  Learn to watch the members’ body language and check you own (this is also a communication skill).

8.  Dress for a “business casual” meeting.

9.  Bring refreshments (It doesn’t have to be catered).

10.  You’re a valid, essential member of the IEP team.  You have something to bring to the party (not just treats)!  Nobody knows your child as well as you; give the team members the great opportunity to know your child better.

Now go get ’em, you positive team player, you!

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4 Responses

  1. 11. Don’t get all red in the face, raise your voice, and make threats when another member of the IEP says, “I have 60 other students I work with and simply do not have the time to give your son the attention you think he needs.” in your response to the IEP’s suggested hour and a half of speech therapy a month and placement in a “language rich environment” (classroom). It’s a waste of time and scares the crap out of everyone at the table, makes you feel like a fool and everyone gets all defensive immeditately shutting down the meeting. Simply email your recording of the conversation to an attorney and ask for a clarification of the law.

    • Yes, keeping calm IS good. Hmm, how about this? Go back to present level of performance in that language area. Look at the wording and how that leads to language goals. Look at the wording in the goals and figure out how service delivery could be effective in reaching those goals. Perhaps you could request the team to share in data-taking to see how language-rich the environment actually is and have the team re-convene in two weeks to share results. Remember, the FIRST step in communication is Joint Attention. Is that actually happening?

  2. Good list! I’ve been doing all the above & more since my son was 3 and nobody told me anything. I read a lot of books, played and worked with my child on a daily basis, and have acted as the best advocate that I can! Positive attitude and supporting caring teachers always helps, too. Now, can someone congratulate me and send me to Grove Park weekend alone for spa time for the weekend?

  3. Thanks for the shout out to the ASNC Bookstore. We carry many titles that can help you in participating in the IEP process. Check out all our great IEP titles here: http://www.autismbookstore.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Store_Code=ASNC&Category_Code=IEPs

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