Michelle Mason, Ph.D.
Schedule an IEP Meeting Now!
If you have read my notes in the IEP Education Binder, you know that I recommend that you have two to three IEP meetings a year. I can imagine all the groaning people will do once they read this. I know that no one wants to go to even one IEP meeting a year, but I have good reasons for recommending this.
Here is why you really need to have an IEP meeting at the beginning of the year. I’ll explain why you need the two other IEPs at a later time. If your regular IEP (annual) meeting is in August, September, or early October, then that would be your first IEP meeting (then you might only need two). However, if your child’s IEP meeting is not until later in the year, I recommend that you ask for an addendum/amendment IEP in the first month of school.
Why do you need an IEP meeting early in the year?
1. Your child may have had issues over the summer that you may want to talk to the educators about.
2. Your child may have made some gains over the summer, and you want to let the IEP team know.
3. You want to know what the academic and behavioral expectations are of the grade your child is now in.
4. You want to get to know all of your child’s teachers.
5. You want to know what your child’s schedule is for pull-out services (resource, speech therapy, occupational therapy, etc.).
6. You want to know how often the educators who work with your child consult each other. Do the special education providers consult with the general education teachers? If not, why not? This should be added to the IEP.
7. Things are a little chaotic at the beginning of the year, and you want to ensure that your child’s general education teacher knows what your child’s goals, needs, and accommodations/modifications are. In particular, you want the teacher to know the accommodations and the modifications. For instance, if your child needs to be seated near the teacher, the teacher needs to know that. Just this being implemented from the beginning of the year, can help your child start the year on a good note. They should start all the accommodations and modifications from Day 1.
If your child’s annual IEP is at the beginning of the year, you should be getting a phone call or at least a written invitation to set up a time for the meeting. Schools are required to have a written invitation signed by the parent. Some special educators, as a courtesy, will contact the parent by phone to find a convenient time for the IEP meeting before sending the written invitation. Some schools will have the parents sign the written invitation at the meeting, but that is not the best practice.
If your child’s annual IEP is later in the year, and you want to hold a meeting at the beginning of the year, you should send an e-mail to your child’s case manager requesting a meeting. The school district has 30 days to set up an IEP meeting. So, the sooner you send the request, the sooner the meeting will be held!