Make a Plan Ahead of Time
Have a clear purpose in mind before you prepare for the meeting.
If your child is 14 and able to participate in his IEP, talk to him/her about it. If your child would like to participate, discuss your child’s desires and concerns and make a note of them. Prepare a Power Point presentation or a social story to explain the meeting will ensue.
Ensure that all professionals who will support you are attending. Make sure the date/time/location works for you and those supporting you.
Make a list of concerns and issues you want to discuss.
Ask for a copy of any proposed IEP draft, well before the meeting.
Send a note if you plan to audio record the meeting.
Ensure that enough time has been scheduled to discuss all the items on your agenda.
Have your child’s records, progress reports, and therapist evaluations ready. Keep work samples, communication logs, behavior plans, and supporting videos on hand.
Make a list of what worked, what didn’t, and how improvements can be made to the goals and the methods used in working toward them.
Be an Active Participant
Ask for introductions, if they are not offered.
Listen carefully, express your opinions, ask questions, and participate actively.
Ask who is taking notes at the meeting. Review notes periodically to avoid misunderstandings.
Request a break if you are tired or need to discuss something in private with someone who is supporting you.
Before The Meeting Ends
Check to see if all your concerns have been addressed.
Make sure that the wording throughout the IEP is clear and specific.
Schedule another IEP meeting if there are unresolved issues or if you ran out of time.
Identify who is responsible for each part of the IEP for following up on later.
You do not have to sign the IEP. Most parents are exhausted at the end of an IEP meeting and are rarely in a position of having resolved everything or making a decision. You have the right to take the IEP home and make a decision on how you want to proceed, later.
If you have concerns about any part of the IEP, state them in writing on the IEP.
Make sure you receive a copy of your child’s completed IEP to take home, as well as other special education reports.
Write letters of clarification to address any concerns, questions, overlooked areas, etc., if needed.
Consider sharing a copy of the IEP with other professionals working with your child.
Parents Helping Parents Tool Kit:
A Guide to the IEP:
Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund website has this and other useful info:
California Department of Education:
Choices For Learning: