What Should Parents Ask For in an IEP Meeting?
It can be intimidating to be surrounded by professionals who are well-versed in the intricacies of special education, and many parents are unsure what they should ask for if your child with special needs is eligible for an individualized education program (IEP). As mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), you will be part of the team that develops your child's IEP, along with:
- the child's teacher,
- a special education teacher,
- other personnel (such as a school psychologist or a therapist).
Know your rightsRemember: Parents have the right to participate fully in these meetings, including asking questions and disputing points. You have the right to bring an advocate, attorney, or any person of your choice. At an IEP meeting, parents have the right to express their vision and concerns and ask for specific goals and objectives to be included in the child's IEP. The IEP team must consider the parents' wishes and concerns when developing the IEP. Parents can ask for any specific objectives to be included, as long as they are related to the child's academic, developmental and functional needs.
Specify Objectives & GoalsObjectives may include a wide variety of different types of goals that are specific to the needs of each child. Goals in the IEP may address:
- Behavioral and communications needs,
- Physical education needs,
- Traditional academic goals.
- Self-care skills
- Social skills
Don't Be IntimidatedHere are some things to keep in mind to ensure that your child receives a free appropriate public education (FAPE):
- You are an expert in your child’s needs.
- It is important to remember that although the professionals in the room are experts, (you are also an expert) in your child's needs. You may not be familiar with the specialized language used by the professionals, but you still can and should communicate what your child needs.
- You have the right to an independent evaluation.