Friday, June 26, 2009

Fast Fact Friday: Requesting an IEP Meeting

A student's Individualized Education Plan must be reviewed
  • at least annually
  • whenever there are evaluations / assessments to be reviewed by the IEP team
  • to address lack of expected progress
  • at the request of the teacher / staff
  • at the request of the parent
Parents often don't know that they can request an IEP meeting at any time! They may be concerned about their child's lack of progress, or new concerns that have arisen, or think some information needs to be provided to the team, but be waiting for the District to call an IEP meeting!

When & Why

Parents may need to request an IEP team meeting for many reasons. Trust your instincts and judgment - if you think that the team needs to meet and possibly make changes to the program, just ask for a meeting! Here are some examples of common situations:
  • Parent obtained a private evaluation or met with the student's doctor, and recommendations pertinent to the student's program were made
  • Parent is concerned about student's failing grades, lack of progress towards IEP goals, or other indications of lack of progress in the existing program
  • Parent believes the student's needs have changed, such as that there are new behaviors the student is exhibiting
Parents can make a request for the IEP team to convene to discuss these concerns and make appropirate adjustments to the IEP. The timeline for when the District will then be required to hold an IEP meeting is determined by state laws and regulations. (In California, for example, it must be held within 30 days).

What & How

Like everything else, this request should be made in writing. Parents should send a letter to their child's school of attendance and to the school district special education office clearly requesting an IEP meeting to be convened as soon as possible.

It's a good idea for parents to give some indication of why they are requesting an IEP meeting so that the District team members can come to the meeting prepared for a meaningful discussion. If the parent is requesting a meeting to review a private report, for example, the parent should offer to provide a copy of the report for the team's review. If the request is based on a concern about the student's lack of progress, briefly document the basis of that concern.

Give the District dates and times that you are available to have the meeting, or request that they contact you by a certain date to discuss mutually agreeable dates.

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