Meeting with school officials about your child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) can feel like your worst nightmare. Sitting alone across from five or six administrators and experts has all the markings of a bad dream. But, it doesn’t have to be like that.
Preparing for an IEP
You can prepare for the meeting in a few simple ways.
First, familiarize yourself with the form used for every IEP. The Ohio Department of Education offers a sample at http://education.ohio.gov/getattachment/Topics/Special-Education/Federal-and-State-Requirements/Ohio-Required-and-Optional-Forms-Updated/iep-pr-07-form-static.pdf.aspx?lang=en-US .
This is the form the school will complete and review with you at the IEP meeting. Read through the 16 sections and think about how you would answer regarding your child. Above all, consider what is right for your child.
Knowing the players
Next, consider who may be at the meeting. The school district can include your child’s general education teacher, a Special Education teacher, any experts such as the school psychologist or a therapist, an administrator from the school, among others. Therefore, you may be know one or more of them, and this may relieve some of your angst.
Also, request an advanced copy of your child’s IEP. If the school has prepared a draft IEP, ask them to provide you with a copy. This extra time can help you formulate questions or seek additional information about the matters discussed in the IEP.
Be prepared to disagree
Finally, make yourself ready to disagree with part or all of the plan the school has developed for your child. When the conference is over, the school district will ask you to sign in Section 15, found at the end of the plan. Your signature acknowledges that you attended the meeting, and another signature indicates you agree with the plan.
Before signing, read this section carefully. If you agree with the school’s ideas and plans for your child, sign it in the appropriate place. However, if you do not agree, make sure that is clear in this signature area.
Preparation beforehand can take the turmoil out of the IEP conference. The shear number of school officials can be overwhelming. Remember, you can bring other people to these meetings including family members, friends, other professionals or even an attorney.
Let us help
At Holland & Muirden, we understand how overwhelming the IEP process can be. We can help at any stage of the process to make the IEP less of a nightmare. Contact us today. http://holland-muirden.com/contact-ohio-law-firm-free/