Prepare for Successful IEP Meetings
Therapies and Resources for Children with Autism & Families
A new school year brings a new Individualized Education Program (IEP) for your special needs child. Once the plan is finalized, you will meet with your child’s IEP team-usually made up of your child’s teacher, a school administrator such as the principal, and your child’s therapists-throughout the year. Instead of being nervous about or even dreading these discussions, have a plan to make these meetings productive and successful.
- Try to foster a strong, positive relationship with at least one member of your child’s IEP team. This could be your child’s teacher or the school principal. If you have a comfortable relationship with one or more individuals in the room, you will feel more at ease in speaking up and adding your voice to the discussion.
- Plan ahead for the meetings. It can help some parents to write down their thoughts, observations, and questions on paper so they will not forget to bring these items up in the discussion. If you haven’t been provided with any documentation of how the IEP meetings will be run at your child’s school, ask for copies of the process as well as the expected attendees. This will help you come to meetings better prepared and ready for a productive discussion.
- Focus on the goals you have for your child, rather than specific methods or teaching practices. The professionals in the room are responsible for the methodology that will help your child reach a goal.
- Always ask for clarification on any unfamiliar jargon or acronyms. The other IEP team members may not even realize they are using terminology that you may not have heard before. It will take only a minute for a quick clarification so that you can understand the conversation.
- Prepare to add your unique perspective. Remember one of the most central members of your child’s IEP team-you! Parents play an essential role in IEP planning. After all, no one knows your child better than you. During the meeting, try to personalize your child as much as possible for the others in the room, like his or her unique strengths, talents, needs and interests.
Do you have concerns about your child’s IEP? Contact the caring, professional team at Peak Potential Therapy today. We provide a range of therapeutic services and resources for children with autism.