by Michelle K. McGuire, Esq., Special Education Lawyer, McGuire Law and Advocacy LLC
Learning to navigate your child’s Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) can be overwhelming. Being aware of a few tips can ease the stress as you prepare for an IEP meeting.
1. Ask for a draft IEP to review before the meeting.
Review the IEP with your child’s educational evaluations. These evaluations are the key to your child’s educational needs; these needs are what the IEP goals should be addressing and teaching your child.
2. The IEP goals must be meaningful and measurable for your child.
One way to determine if a goal is meaningful and measurable is to compare the goal with the present level of performance (PLOP). The PLOP must tell you where your child is performing on the goal’s particular skill at the time the IEP goal is being written. This ensures that your child is achieving measurable progress that is meaningful.
3. Each goal must have a corresponding service/instruction delivered by a qualified professional.
4. Bring someone who will support you at the IEP meeting.
Someone who will help you stay calm, take notes and ask questions. Contact a lawyer if you feel that you and your support person can no longer handle the meetings alone or if you need more information about your rights.
5. Don’t sign the IEP at the meeting.
You have the right to take the finalized IEP home to review and ultimately determine whether you agree or disagree with the entire IEP. The IEP is a legally binding contract between you and the district. Be thoughtful and take your time, your child’s future is at stake.