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Are You Ready for Your Child’s First IEP Meeting?

prepare for IEP meeting

Does your child have autism, Down syndrome or another disability? She may be eligible for special education services. But the school system is hard to navigate without some preparation. That’s why getting ready for your first IEP (Individualized Educational Program) meeting is an important step in handling your child’s education.

Learning your child’s rights is the first step once you know that your child with a disability is eligible for special education services. Each state has a set of rights that should be provided to you at the beginning of every annual review meeting. These rights set guidelines for your child’s teacher and school and lets that you know about everything your child is entitled to along with your responsibilities as a parent. If you do not have a copy of your rights, contact your child’s school, or check your state’s department of education website.

You also must know the services that are provided through your child’s school district. Knowing this information ahead of time will help you feel more comfortable talking with the IEP team. It is recommended that you additionally research your child’s specific school and meet your child’s teacher before the initial meeting. It is important to have a good relationship with your child’s teacher and it will help you feel more confident if you have established this relationship beforehand.

Going into the first IEP meeting can still be stressful. How do you remember everything you want to say? Make sure you’re prepared and remember to bring everything you need to bring.

Get organized for your next IEP meeting with this checklist:

  • An advocate who can support you
  • All your documentation
  • A notepad and pen to take notes
  • A recording app if you’ll be recording the meeting
  • A list of questions you need answered
  • Notes about what works at home
  • Any private assessments you want to share
  • Evaluation reports from your child’s most recent school
  • Phone calls, meetings or emails to or from school
  • A letter of your concerns to attach to the IEP that lists your child’s strengths and challenges

Being prepared for your first IEP meeting can make it easier. It can also help to  bring your own team of advisors to a meeting.

If you feel overwhelmed and you need help, please contact us.

American Disability Association is dedicated to the wellbeing and protection of children with disabilities and actively provides support to enhance their quality of life. Whether you are dealing with federal or state benefits or struggling with a school district to get proper education for your child, we have the resources to help you. Many individuals and families managing a disability are not aware of the wide array of services available to them, or they do not know how to apply for these benefits in a way that is likely to succeed.

Contact us for help. Dial (888) 323-2133 or email us at [email protected]