So much needs to go into preparing for the IEP Team Meeting. Here are just a few pieces of advice and information to be aware of:
Who is the IEP Team?
According to IDEA 2004, Section 1414(d)(1)(B), the IEP team includes:
(i) the parents of a child with a disability;
(ii) not less than 1 regular education teacher of such child (if the child is, or may be, participating in the regular education environment;
(iii) not less than 1 special education teacher, or where appropriate, not less than 1 special education provider of such child;
(iv) a representative of the local educational agency . . .
(v) an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results . . .
(vi) at the discretion of the parent or the agency, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel as appropriate; and
(vii) whenever appropriate, the child with a disability.
Parent/Student Concerns Statement
The district needs to include this statement in its entirety as written by the parent/student. Take some time and really think about it. Prepare it in advance and either email it to the proper person or bring a copy to the IEP meeting so they can incorporate it. Include your greatest concerns, hopes for the student’s accomplishments, concerns regarding the student’s services and/or concerns regarding last year’s IEP. Try and keep this statement as clear, complete but concise as possible. It should not a recap of the child’s entire educational history but a good overview. Try and incorporate some positive statements so that this statement is not perceived as being completely negative or argumentative.
To accept or reject the IEP
It is never advisable to reject the IEP in full. If you reject the IEP in full then the student is no longer eligible for Special Education. The best option is to accept in part and reject in part. It is always better for the student to receive some services (versus none) while the parties work out any conflicts. The District must report a partially or fully rejected IEP to DESE. DESE will send a letter to the parent outlining options to resolve the issues. If a response to a proposed IEP is not received within 30 calendar days, it is considered rejected.
Do not be concerned if your advocate/attorney seem too friendly with the other side…
Your advocate/attorney agreed to work with you and support you. Do not mistake professionalism and civility as being ‘too friendly’ or a lack of dedication to your side. Attorneys, and advocates, have an ethical obligation to zealously defend their clients. To do their job well, your attorney/advocate needs to maintain their emotions. If your attorney/advocate is seen as unreasonable or reactionary then the school district may not be willing to work with them.
Students are the focus of special education and, as they grow, students are expected to participate in planning for their own future as much as possible. Students at age 14 are entitled to participate in all Team Meetings. Students at age 18 are adults under Massachusetts law and assume all rights formerly held by their parents for participation and decision making. The student at age 18 will be given the option of assuming all responsibilities, delegating decision-making to their parent/guardian or sharing decision-making with their parent/guardian.
Contact Attorney Curran to arrange an IEP Checkup for your child. This service includes an in-depth examination of your child’s IEP, the most recent school and/or private evaluations of your child, and any other significant records, as well as an initial telephone or in-person consultation.