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Preparing for an IEP meeting can be a daunting task: making sure you have all your documents in order, you have an agenda for the meeting, and you have your questions prepared. But sometimes, preparation is the easy part. Actually attending and participating in the meeting can be a even more difficult task. It can be scary, intimidating, and stressful. Here are some tips to get you through an IEP meeting. And if you do not have your IEP Meeting checklist, you will want to get started with that soon!
- Make sure you have received and read through the draft IEP and proposed goals and objectives BEFORE the meeting so that you are better prepared.
- Eat before you come. You never know how long an IEP meeting will last, so you want to make sure you have enough energy you get through a meeting. It is also a good idea to keep a few snacks in your bag and bottled water just in case you get thirsty.
- Remember that you are an equal part of the IEP team…so SPEAK UP! Ask questions. Ask other IEP members to repeat items if you do not understand.
- Be Confident. Remember: You know your child!
- Make sure to LISTEN! Sometimes, there are so many things going on at a meeting, so make sure you are an active listener. Record the meeting if you want to play anything back.
- Do not nitpick. The point of the meeting is to make sure your child is receiving the best services possible. This is not about “us versus them.”
- Focus on the issues at hand. For example, if Johnny is having difficulty with fine motor skills, the discussion should focus on supports and services that can help improve Johnny’s fine motor skills, not what behavior issues he had the previous week.
- Make sure all IEP goals and objectives are SMART: Specific, Measurable, use Action words, are Realistic, and Time specific.
- Bring a family member, friend, or advocate if you need support.
- And most importantly…RELAX! There is no need to become tense. Most school professionals want what is best for child as well. We are all in this together!