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Students are encouraged to take part in developing their own IEPs. Some students in elementary school come to the meeting just to learn a little about the process or to share information about themselves. As students get older, they take a more active role. In addition to the people listed above, you and the school can invite other people to the IEP meeting.

This can include:. Translators or interpreters —If English is not your first language, or if you communicate by using sign language or in another mode, the law says the school must provide an interpreter, if you ask for one. This is especially important if an outside agency may be responsible for providing or paying for transition services. An example of such an agency might be the Department of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Others with knowledge or special expertise about your child —Many parents find it helpful to have a support person at the IEP meeting. This may be another parent, a friend, an advocate, or a consultant.

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Others could include student friends, specialists, tutors, educational consultants, or school staff. It can also include therapists or other related services personnel who work with your child. Both you and the school have the right to invite such individuals to join the team.

As you can see, there can be many people on an IEP team.


While everyone shares in the discussion, you will find that each brings his or her own point of view and experience. Usually, the special education teacher—. The special educator can talk about how lessons may need to be adapted or modified to help your child learn. He or she may also talk about the supports and supplementary aids your child may need to fully participate in learning and other school activities, such as assistive technology, an instructional assistant, or peer buddy.

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In many schools, the special educator also makes sure that all the people who help your child follow the plan written in the IEP. If your child is going to be educated in the general education classroom for any part of the school day, then the general education teacher will talk about what your child will be taught and expected to learn. He or she may also talk about any supports, changes, and services your child needs to be successful. The general education teacher may also tell the rest of the team what he or she needs to help your child understand the general education curriculum and achieve the goals listed in the IEP.

Your knowledge can help the team develop an IEP that will work best for your child. Tell the team what goals are most important to you and to your child.

Your job at the IEP meeting is to:. To help you participate, the school must make reasonable efforts to:. Just having your child at the meeting can make the IEP process come more alive. Requests and suggestions that come directly from your child can carry more weight than when you voice them. Many parents are sometimes surprised when they hear their children speak about their disability, their educational desires, and their goals for the future.

When your child is part of the IEP process, the program can be much more worthwhile to him or her, instead of something to put up with. Taking part in IEP meetings also helps your child learn to speak up for him or herself and develop valuable self-advocacy skills.

Back to top. You and the other team members will work to create an IEP that is educationally appropriate and that the team can agree on. You can share these ideas with other members of the team before the meeting, if you wish. You can also ask the school to send you draft ideas, so you can look them over before meeting. During the meeting, each person takes a turn in the discussion. The discussion will include talking about:. Does your child have communication needs?

Does your child need assistive technology services and devices? Does your child have a visual impairment and need instruction in or the use of Braille? Is your child deaf or hard of hearing and have language and other communication needs?

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Does your child have language needs related to his or her IEP, because of limited English proficiency? If your child is already receiving special education services, this will probably be the special education teacher. The teacher begins with how your child is doing in school. Then specialists, like a physical therapist or a speech therapist, will discuss how your child is doing in these areas. Goals for the year, related services, and all of the required parts of the IEP will be talked about and decided. As a parent, you are an equal member of the IEP team and an expert on your child.

If you have questions or concerns, speak up. Ask for more information or an explanation if you need it. If you disagree with something you hear, respectfully say so. Explain why, or offer your point of view. The IEP meeting is a conversation and a dialogue. You and the other IEP team members are putting your heads together to design an effective program for your child.

The main purpose of the meeting is to agree on each part of the IEP so that the document can be written and services can start.

Again, you and the school must agree in writing to excuse the member of the IEP team. In each state or school district the IEP form can look different. The special education, related services, and supplementary aids and services that will be provided to or on behalf of your child, including program modifications or supports for school staff;. An explanation of the extent if any to which your child will not participate with children without disabilities in the regular class and in school activities;. Any modifications your child will need when taking state or district-wide assessments;.

The dates when services will begin and end, the amount of services, as well as how often and where they will take place;. By age 16 or younger, if the IEP team so decides , postsecondary goals and the transition services including courses of study that your child will need to reach those goals;. Beginning at least one year before your child reaches the age of adulthood usually , depending on your state law , the IEP must include a statement that your child has been informed of any rights that will transfer to him or her upon reaching this age.

Each one of the items above is discussed during the meeting and filled in on the IEP form. This section of the IEP describes how your child is doing in school, based on current information. Some examples are:. If your child is preschool age, the team will focus on how the disability affects his or her involvement in typical preschool activities and development. This information is then included in the IEP. A well-written present levels will describe:. Below is an example from a well-written present level for a 5th grader with learning disabilities.

His basic writing skills are at a 3. David makes errors when he reads and has difficulty decoding 28 long words [weakness] , but his comprehension skills are strong [strength].

David uses context cues and picture cues to help him understand what he is reading [what helps learning]. He has a strong reading vocabulary [strength]. When writing, David frequently misspells words and uses incorrect punctuation [weakness]. It is much easier for David to express himself by speaking rather than by writing. He sometimes gets frustrated when writing and hurries through written work [what hinders learning]. Often, the present levels statement includes teacher observations as well as information from evaluations. For example:. Here is another example of a statement that might be part of a present levels.

Note its emphasis on describing functional performance. Elise is essentially non-verbal and uses many ways to communicate including: gestures, facial expression, eye gaze, vocalizations, word approximations, head nod for yes, head shake for no, and use of a Dynavox augmentative communication device which she accesses with a head switch. A clearly written and thorough present levels is important, because it is the foundation for all of the IEP.

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So take your time in writing the present levels statement.