Oct 16, 2007

How to Overcome IEP Meeting Hurdles

Do you have an IEP meeting coming up? Are you almost certain that you will hear why your child's school can not possibly give your child the accommodations that you are seeking? Have you heard "Our teachers can't do that, they are over worked as it is" before? If you answered yes to any of these questions, there is help. The NCLID has compiled three lists full of "courteous, yet assertive" responses that parents can use when confronted with excuses from school administration. They have also provided relevant information from sections of the special education law and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to supplement your responses. I highly advise you to review the lists carefully so that you can be prepared the next time you are scheduled to sit across from the IEP team . Don't be afraid to advocate for your ADHD/LD child!

You may also want to review posts that I have written in the past that pertain to IEP meetings.


  1. I am a special education teacher and I disagree with some of your wording. the important thing to remember when going into an IEP team meeting is that you don't "sit across from the IEP team". The parent is, and should be, an active MEMBER of the IEP team. It is not the parent versus the school. The school staff and the parent should work together on what best meets the needs of the student. That is what special education is all about.

  2. Dear Mr. James,
    Thank you for your comment. I agree with you 100%. However, in my past experience, your scenerio is not the case. In the numerous IEP meetings I have attended it has felt like me vs. "them." I so wish more schools would see parents as an equal team member, it would make the whole process much less threatening and inviting to parents. Again, thank you for your view.

  3. I have a question regarding IEP testing and ADHD. My 9 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD 1 year ago. His psychiatrists suggested this week that he have an IEP test. He warned my husband and me both that we would have a fight on our hands to get the school district to do the testing. His psychiatrists even wrote a note stating that my son needed the testing especially in reading. He said it cost the school district money and gives them a "bad mark". Sure enough I already am going back and forth trying to get them to test my son. Why is this? Why would the doc say it was going to be fight to get the IEP testing done for my son?

  4. Your child's school is legally required to do the testing at no cost to you. However, some schools do not have the student's best interest in mind. They are more worried with how another "special education" student will reflect on their funding and Adequate Yearly Progress reports. I hope this is not the case in your school district. The first thing I would do is discuss your concern with your child's teacher. Let her know that your child's psychiatrist has recommended the tests. She should then forward your concern on to the Resource/Special Education teacher. She/he would then set up the testing. Usually the testing is done by the school or district psychologist. The testing is done at school and takes a couple of hours. If they find that your child could benefit from an IEP, they will set up an IEP meeting. The Resource/Special Education teacher would be present along with you, the principla/vice principal, your child's regular classroom teacher and possibly the school psychologist. You will all discuss how the school can best help your child and determine what acommodations need to be included in your child's IEP. Acommodations can be anything from preferential seating, reduced homework assignments, extended time to take tests, etc. Here is a link to 21 posts I have written on my blog that specifically pertain to IEP's. Please send me an update and let me know what has transpired since your child returned to school from the Christmas break. I'm quite interested.

    Most sincerely,

  5. My Child's school wants to have an annual review of IEPs in April. I think that we should wait to review it until we know what teachers he will be assigned next year that way they can be included in the meeting. Our last meeting was in September. A couple of weeks ago I also received a questionnaire from his intervention teacher that had questions like what are our dreams and goals for our child. I was just going to dismiss this questionnaire since they wanted to meet in April but then I received a note home this week from the intervention teacher stating that she wanted all the questionnaires turned in by Wednesday so that she could write the IEPs over Easter Break. This would be our first review of my son's IEP but something doesn't seem right about that. I thought we were supposed to meet as a team to determine what is best for my son and not just let one person make that decision. I also think that a very vague questionnaire isn't a good idea because I wouldn't be there to explain my answers if necessary. I don't believe I will send in the questionnaire but I would love some suggestions because this seems strange to me.

  6. Penny,
    It is customary to have an IEP review in the spring. However, you can also request another IEP meeting in the fall after your son's teachers have been assigned. I have done this before. And, yes, you are certainly correct....one person should not write the IEP on her own. There is to be a meeting with you present. She may writing a rough draft over spring break to present at the meeting. Then, at the actual meeting, you can decide if you want to approve it or not. Do not sign it until you are 100% satisfied with it! Go prepared with your own ideas, thoughts, etc. Let them know what your thoughts are about your son and his education. After all, you know your son the best. Try to go into the meeting with a positive attitude. Please email me if you'd like to discuss this issue further. Good luck!

  7. It seems like parents often feel overwhelmed and feel like they aren't an expert. Parents are experts on their child. It's good to have confidence and know going into the meeting and set the tone that they are a part of the team.


Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I love comments and feedback!