October 19, 2020

Preparing for an IEP Meeting With Effective Communication

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Takeaways:  

The IEP team is supposed to collaborate to develop an effective, meaningful plan with annual goals, specially designed instruction, and uniquely designed special education and related services.  That’s a big charge, and all too often, IEP team meetings are rote, bland, and driven by the school team with little parent participation encouraged or allowed.  In this episode I’ll walk you through the following  six steps I take to prepare for every IEP meeting I attend.  Take a listen, and let me know what you think! 


All too often I get a new client that brings me minutes from their IEP meeting that read like this: School offered Parent Rights.  Parent declined.  School read draft IEP.  Parent shared concerns about toileting and said [child] enjoyed playing with a cousin on Sunday.  The IEP was accepted.  No further discussion ensued.   

Here’s the problem with that (I’m going to try to break the record for number of colons in a post):  The IEP team is supposed to collaborate to develop an effective, meaningful plan with annual goals, specially designed instruction, and uniquely designed special education and related services.  How could that be accomplished in the meetings described above?  

My opinion: it can’t.   Each person at the IEP table should meaningfully contribute to the IEP meeting.  The key to such participation lies in preparation (didn’t your grandpa have a quote like “Preparation is the key to success?”).  

In this episode I’ll walk you through the following  six steps I take to prepare for every IEP meeting I attend: 

  1.  Ask for information to be shared at the IEP meeting, including a draft IEP
  2. Review progress monitoring, student work, journals, logs, diaries, etc. 
  3. Review the draft IEP when received
  4. Gather documentation to support your advocacy 
  5. Share your thoughts with the rest of the team before the meeting
  6. Organize the information to be shared in a meaningful way (it may be helpful to listen to Episode 08 prior to taking this step).  LINK!!!  

Following this plan, while a bit time consuming the week of the meeting, will ensure that you marry your subjective gut feelings with objective information; collaborate with the IEP team, and keep the child at the center of the IEP discussions.  Isn’t that the goal?  


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Listen to Episode 08 here: Getting More Services Out Of An IEP here: https://ashleybarlowco.com/getting-more-services-out-of-an-iep/

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