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Navigating the IEP Process

Individualized Education Plans (IEP) can be a valuable tool in your child’s education, but it can also be very stressful. There is a lot that goes into developing an IEP that will help give your child the educational opportunities they need to succeed. If you are new to the IEP process, it can be overwhelming and you can feel like you are lost in a tornado. If you are experienced with the IEP process, you probably still feel like you are lost in a tornado,but you can at least avoid the debris hitting you. Here are some tips that you can utilize to help you navigate the IEP process.

IEP meetings can be a stressful, emotional time. According to Exceptional Parents Unlimited, here are some helpful tips to prepare for your IEP meeting.

  1. Keep records of everything. Make a binder or filing system that you can easily access and refer to whenever you need it. This will help relieve a lot of stress in searching for documents you need to make sure your child’s IEP is being implemented. 
  2. Ask for help. Take a trusted friend or family member to be there for support. They do not have to say anything during the meeting, just be there to support you.
  3. Keep your eye on the prize! Your child’s future is important and the IEP is implemented to make sure that your child succeeds in school. Be an advocate for your child. Prepare questions ahead of time, ask follow up questions, and be assertive. 

Source: “EPU Advocacy FAQ,” Exceptional Parents Unlimited, accessed November 12, 2019, https://epuchildren.org/resources/advocacy-at-epu-2/#iep-prep 

The goal of an IEP should reflect a minimum of 18 month’s growth in any area over a period of 12 months. Otherwise, the gap will be the same or bigger after the 12 month period. Do not sign an IEP if you are not in full agreement and never allow them to place limited expectations on your child because this will typically result in limited growth.

Parents Helping Parents(www.php.com)  also has great resources to help you with the IEP process. They have videos, information on laws, and support resources. 

The California Department of Education has a summary of parent’s rights that can be found here https://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/se/qa/pssummary.asp

What are you experiences with IEP’s? What advice would YOU give to a parent going through the IEP process? Leave your comments below. 

Disclaimer: comments need to be respectful. Any comments that we deem disrespectful (i.e. foul language, teacher bashing)  may be deleted without notice.

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