When you have an IEP planned think about the following steps/strategies:

  1. Make a specific list of what your child needs; do not use general terms, but be detailed, “Mary needs physical therapy 3 times a week, 45 minutes each session, 1:1 with the PT.”
  2. Be sure to highlight and bring to the IEP meeting written material that supports each item on your list; you probably have a lot so use post-its for easy access.
  3. Be sure to bring those people to the IEP, particularly experts who can make the argument for what you want for your child.
  4. Tell your school district in advance of the meeting who you are bringing and ask them who will attend for them.
  5. At the beginning of the IEP meeting indicate what you think are the key issues and that you want to be sure that all are covered.
  6. While you have the right to tape the meeting it is better to have someone take notes – tape recorders will put people on guard and you can’t always make out who is saying what.
  7. If you know school staff supports your list (some or all) be sure they are at the meeting and ask them their opinion if they hold back.
  8. Your note taker should especially write down when someone says something supportive of your list or something negative that seems not quite right, e.g., “we know Mary needs PT, but we don’t have enough in the budget to provide 3 times a week.”
  9. Often the district will have some taking notes which will become part of the IEP document; be sure to read it (take it home) and note anything that is incorrect or anything that was covered during the meeting and is missing from the Notes section.
  10. You do not have to accept the IEP, “all or nothing.”
  11. Form is less important than clarity – under your signature, write, “I agree with the IEP but for those items listed on Addendum A.”  Put everything down that you disagree with and ask them to attach that to the IEP as Addendum A.
  12. You do not have to sign on the day of the IEP; take it home, review, run it past others, do your Addendum and then send back.