How can I obtain the best IEP for my child?
Jeffrey A. Gottlieb, Esq., Los Angeles special education attorney, provides a useful checklist for parents to prepare for an IEP meeting. The list not intended to be exhaustive. Parents should remember that legal advice may be required for specific circumstances.
Parent IEP Preparation Check list
- Confirm an agreeable time with the school district and anyone you want to attend the IEP meeting.
- Provide the school district with written notice, via mail and fax, that you will be taping the IEP meeting.
- Request in writing a copy of your child’s entire educational file (everything!)
- Request in writing that you be provided with all new assessments, prior to the IEP meeting.
- Attempt to make an appointment to observe your child in his/her classrooms, sometime prior to the IEP meeting.
- Review all IEPs, all assessments (past and current); identify comments within the previous IEPs.
- Summarize test scores and trends that support any requests that you wish to make on behalf of your child.
- Make a written list of your concerns.
- Write down your child’s strengths.
- Determine what you want in terms of placement, services and goals. Know why you want each item and what objective and subjective information supports what you want. Put all of this in writing as part of your own confidential notes. Know your “bottom line.”
- Be organized. Have copies of all pertinent documents in a binder, organized so you can easily locate each one.
- During the IEP meeting, maintain a positive and “directive” attitude. Take a leadership role in the IEP meeting on behalf of your child. Remember, you know your child best.
- If during the IEP meeting, if someone suggests changing the IEP in your child’s favor, concisely repeat what was stated and request that the other person’s statement be reflected in the IEP notes.
- If someone makes a statement during the IEP meeting that you do not understand, ask for clarity.
- Ask questions during the IEP meeting (for example, How many times did you observe my child and for how long).
- If during the IEP meeting, someone states something with which you disagree, politely acknowledge the “opposing” statement and state your disagreement and the reason you disagree. Ask to have your comments recorded in the IEP notes.
- Discuss how much progress has been made towards meeting the goals from the last IEP, which goals will need to be continued, and which will need to be modified. Ask for specific examples of how progress has been measured on the current IEP.
- Review the IEP before leaving, making certain that key concerns and statements have been reflected in the IEP notes.
- Remember the school district is generally only responsible for what’s written in the IEP, so make sure it says what is agreed to and get a copy before you leave.
- Generally, do not sign the IEP until you have had time to review it at home (treat the IEP as if it is a binding contract).
- Remember, you have the power to say No! You can disagree to all educational offerings within an IEP or agree in part and disagree in part. With very few exceptions (e.g., by a court order), a school district cannot change your child’s current educational program without your consent. However, at this point of a disagreement with a school district you may want to seek legal counsel.
Jeffrey Gottlieb’s law practice focuses exclusively on supporting the needs of disabled children and their parents. He has successfully placed children in appropriate educational settings and obtained educational services appropriate to their needs.
The Law Offices of Jeffrey A. Gottlieb
Serving Special Education Children
10545 Cliota Street
Whittier, CA 90601
Voice: (562) 699-2412
Visit Mr. Gottlieb’s website.
Mr. Gottlieb has Satellite Offices in Downtown Los Angeles, Huntington Beach, Irvine, Long Beach, Newport Beach, and Rancho Cucamonga.
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