I found while I was student teaching and teaching that many parents who have children in special education don't simply understand special education nor do they know their rights. They often appear to be intimidated and leave it all up their child's teacher and therapist. Therefore, I want to try to do my best from time to time to share a little information for you in hopes to help you.
The IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting is typically led by the school administrator in special education. It can be led by others such as the principal or teacher. Most IEP meetings begin with introductions before you dive into the meeting.
I am very thankful for the Individual Disability Education Act (IDEA). This recognizes that each child's needs are unique. For example, if you can show that your child needs a specific service, such as a one on one aide, then the law requires it. A child's needs, not the cost, should dictate all IEP decisions. Sometimes you might have to watch for an administrator to indirectly avoid a service. Therefore, you need to know when it is appropriate to fight an issue and when it isn't. I highly recommend to fight for the crucial issues and to be more flexible with other issues. You as the parent know which issues are more crucial for your child.
During the meeting someone from the school will write the IEP plan as the meeting progresses. Your child's IEP should included
- child's current levels of academic and functional performance
- how child's disability affects his or her involvement and progress in the general curriculum
- measurable annuals goals
- description of how your child's progress towards their goals will be measured
- When and how their goals will be measured
- accommodations your child may need when taking state or other test
- A transition plan if your child is 16 or older
- supplementary aids and services your child will receive.
- Program modifications for your child
Also during the IEP meeting, someone from the school will go over your child's evaluation.
I can't emphasize enough to ask questions if you don't understand something. Make sure you participate and agree with all the goals that are written in the IEP. You have to agree with everything that is wrote in the IEP. Be an active, involved parent. It will only benefit your child greatly!