10 Things You Must Know for an IEP Meeting

10 things you must know for an IEP meeting

written by Doug Goldberg of Special Education Advisor.

It’s Back-to-School and time for your IEP meetings.

Here are the top ten tips to remember for your IEP Meetings:

10.  Organize, Organize, and Organize;

Make sure you have all IEP’s, assessments and medical diagnoses together in one three ring binder.  This way you can refer back to them during the IEP meeting.

9.    Bring snacks;

IEP meetings can be long and nothing breaks the ice with the other team members like a nice cookie!

8.    Assess in all areas of suspected disability;

Parents have the right to request assessments other than the ones the School District has suggested.

7.    Request assessment copies prior to the meeting;

This way you can review the materials and participate in the IEP in a productive manner.

6.    Stay calm and bring your spouse or a friend;

Parents are often considered too emotional by the School District which can be used against the parent.  It is helpful to have someone else listen to confirm your understanding of what is being discussed and offered.

5.    Eligibility does not drive services;

Once your child is eligible for special education, they must receive services in all areas of need.  Don’t let the School District tell you they can’t provide a service because of your child’s eligibility.  The School District must provide all related services pertaining to their educational needs.

4.    If you disagree with an assessment ask for an IEE;

An Independent Educational Evaluation must be provided at the public school’s expense.  If a parent requests an IEE, the School District must either say yes or take the parents to due process and explain to a hearing officer why the assessments the school provided were adequate.

3.    Bring people with you that have specialized knowledge;

Parents have the right to invite participants to the IEP meeting that have specialized knowledge about their child.  This could include advocates, attorneys, behaviorists, psychologists, etc.  The School District personnel will outnumber you and it can become very intimidating.  Level the playing field as much as possible.

2.    Don’t feel pressured to sign the IEP that day; and

Always review the IEP before signing.  If you don’t feel comfortable reviewing the IEP at the meeting, take it home and give yourself time to read it carefully!

1.    You can disagree with any and all of the IEP offer.

If you disagree with any part of the IEP please add your comments to the parent’s concerns section and formally disagree with the parts of the offer you don’t like.  Once you disagree, there are a number of informal and formal options that you as parents can pursue.

Reprinted with author’s permission.

Special Education Advisor.com is a community of parents, educators, and special education service providers dedicated to helping families with special education needs children understand their special education rights and receive appropriate special education services.

IEP Success Kit Giveaway

The IEP Success Kit is valued at $39.99 and includes:

  • Step by Step IEP Success Guide
  • Contacts and Meeting Notes Organizer
  • Letter and Other Written Communication Templates
  • IEP Related Document and Records Filing System
  • Nationwide School District and Resources Directory
  • Understanding Test Scores Tutorial & Chart
  • Special Education Dictionary and FAQ
  • Durable and Attractive Hardcover 3 Ring Binder
  • CD containing all documents and files in digital format (Windows and Mac compatible)

Enter to win ONE of TWO IEP Success Kits provided by SEA by leaving a comment below! Winner will be chosen at random. Giveaway ends August 15, 2011. (Imagination Soup’s official giveaway rules.) U.S. and Canada only please.

My Daughter’s “Non-Disorder” Disorder (SPD)

Sensory Processing Disorder & Anxiety


  1. Genia Connell says

    Great advice for parents attending their first or tenth IEP. One more bit of advice, do not hesitate to ask questions! Staff members will often use educational abbreviations or lingo that is unfamilar to parents, especially those just beginning the process. If you are not clear on anything being said, please stop and ask for clarification!

  2. Brandy says

    Great advice and thanks for sharing this post. My son has recently been diagnosed with Asperger’s and we will be developing our very first IEP for him once school begins.

  3. Denise Haight says

    My son is going to be a freshman in highschool and he has been on an IEP since he was three months old. He was officially diagnosed with 22Q (Velo Cardio Facial Syndrome) when he was 7. This kit looks like a useful tool and one that would have helped with me some of the battles I have already had to face. I still have a minimum of 4 more years and up to 8 more years if he struggles with the exit exam before he completes high school. A new school district that has a problem with following the state laws makes for much harder battles ahead. Thank you for the opportunity for this kit either by winning or purchasing it is a good tool to have in our bag of tricks in dealing with the school system to ensure our children recieve what is best for him/her.

  4. Megan says

    Thank you for this post, and for the opportunity to win. My almost 3 year old was diagnosed with Autism less than a month ago. Feeling completely overwhelmed with everything I need to learn/do! I appreciate the tips as we will be creating his first IEP soon for developmental pre-k.

  5. Pamela O. says

    Thank you for the post. I was a teacher for 7 years and have been to IEP meetings but now I am anticipating going to my first one this fall with my 3 year old daughter. It is a little intimidating and I think you offer great advice.

  6. Sarah says

    Thank you so much for this post! My son has had an IEP since 1st grade for a medical condition and it was so hard to even get the meeting scheduled, I definitely have to agree that organization is key! An IEP will follow your child for their entire school years, so keeping all meetings, follow ups and reviews organized is necessary to help keep your child on the right path. I would LOVE this Kit!

  7. Jennifer says

    I could have used this list last year. Particularly the part about not feeling like you need to sign right away. My daughter has multiple disabilities and it seems to be getting harder not easier as we go along. Thanks for the chance to win.

  8. says

    Thank you so much for this advice! I have to get one of my binders out and get all of my daughters stuff together. I’m in Canada, and school doesn’t start till September, but I want to be prepared early. The last few weeks always gets crazy, and I’m better off prepared now. Good to know about being able to disagree with things too. Bookmarking this site!

  9. Laura says

    Great advice! IEP meetings can be nerve-racking. It’s good to have an organized plan so that things go as smoothly as possible.

  10. says

    What a great offer! I have two children with special needs, two IEPs, and tons of info that could benefit from this system!

    Thanks again for a chance to win!

  11. Alicia says

    I love this post. We have these meetings every year for my son and this post is greatly appreciated. Thank You!!!

  12. Chris says

    This looks like a great resource! Thanks for the opportunity of a giveaway. I’ve been dealing with IEP’s for 2 years now, but will start the school year (next week, yikes!) with two kids on IEP’s. We faced a struggle with the school last year over daughter’s IEP and I wish I had been more organized when it started. I need to be prepared because I anticipate we will have the same struggle with my other child’s IEP.

  13. Beth says

    What a great kit! This would be so helpful to parents of newly diagnosed children, as well as veteran EC parents. I really like how it is detailed and comprehensive, but not overwhelming to someone who is not familiar with the processes or lingo of educating exceptional children. I would LOVE to win this!

  14. beth m says

    This looks great. Any way to make this process less overwhelming is always great. Thanks for doing this.

  15. ann says

    Don’t hesitate to ask to add a specific goal to your child’s IEP. This is a team effort, an individualized plan, and if there is something you think the school can help you accomplish in your child’s best interest, add it!

  16. Liza767 says

    I wuld love o winthis i am newto IEPs mydaughter is in her second year an i think schol screwed me fistyeari thoughttey hd my daughtes bestintrestin hearbut they wantto save$ atany costsoicanusal thehelp i can get

  17. Nicole says

    My daughter will be receiving her first IEP this year. The kit would help me become organized and ready!

  18. MissMouthy says

    Bring your positive attitude! IEP meetings are not a battle, not us against them. It’s a group trying to figure out the best program for your child.

  19. Teacher says

    Also have realistic expectations. Some children may not be diploma bound. Don’t make that decision too early but waiting until 11th grade hurts your child more than you know it.

  20. dani says

    Some good ideas – thank you! My son, age 8, has Prader-Willi syndrome, a genetic hunger. The ice breaking cookie needs to become a non-food related item. I’ve seen play-doh used as an ice breaker. Some of the most successful teachers I’ve seen have had food-free classrooms. Rewards and ice-breakers do not have to be food. Seriously, though, love your site and ideas.


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