Everything You Should Know About Your IEP Meeting
The IEP meeting is the most important meeting of your child’s education. Here’s what you need to know from an experienced special education attorney.
A child’s individualized education program (IEP) meeting is a procedure in which you can monitor and even shape the plan for your child’s progress. IEP meetings are crucial to special education and related services. School staff and parents meet to discuss, develop, and revise a student’s IEP team. The IEP must meet the needs of the student.
Special education services allow children to focus on their strengths and goals and benefit from other services. Contact a special education lawyer if you feel your child’s rights have been denied.
Special education-eligible students have the right to an IEP team. With legal advice by their side, no one should deny them their rights.
IEP Meeting Requirements
To better understand IEP meetings and your child’s eligibility for such educational purposes, it is essential to understand that your child’s disability must directly impact how they do at school. This can be identified with the help of school personnel by doing a child’s evaluation. Through this evaluation, it will be identified how the child’s disability affects educational performance. Not all apparent disabilities will grant your children access to these services, but the best way to confirm this is to discuss it with a special education attorney.
IEP meetings are initiated after referrals and evaluations to determine whether the child has special education needs. An annual IEP meeting will be held each year to look at a student’s progress. A referral occurs when a doctor, teacher, or parent is concerned that their child is struggling and has trouble in the classroom. This means that the potential abilities of your child’s present level aren’t enough for them to thrive in school.
Then, a team of professionals examines the child to determine the child’s eligibility for a special education program. These individuals will analyze the child’s performance on tests, quizzes, homework, classwork, and standardized tests to determine eligibility.
At this point, the school counselor or a psychologist is consulted with a child care provider, and several steps are initiated, such as:
- Assessing the performance of the child in class, including behavior, attention, tests, work completion, homework, and others
- The initiation of a conference with parents
- A meeting with the student
Initial IEP meeting requirements will vary based on a child’s disability. A child with cognitive challenges or vision problems, for instance, may require the assistance of a specialist in their examination. The IEP team members may differ slightly from case to case to meet the child’s needs and assist their progress. But they usually include a school district representative with the power to approve services and resources.
Who Must Attend an IEP Meeting?
In most cases, with the student eligible for special education, several people are invited to attend the IEP meetings, including:
- Parents or legal guardians for children under 15 years old or younger
- The child’s regular education teacher
- A special education teacher
- A school system representative
- Someone who can interpret the evaluation results
- Other qualified people that can aid the child’s specific needs
- The student, if they are in transition age
Both parents of the child can attend the IEP team meeting. When the child has more than one general education teacher, the school may assist in choosing which teacher should attend the IEP meetings.
Sometimes parents feel that a new problem is causing hindrances and difficulties for their child has raised. In that case, if you are concerned about problems with your child’s current IEP and want to address an educational issue, you do not have to wait until the annual IEP meeting to have them reviewed. You can request any program modifications that you think might help your child.
Special Education Services
If the child suffers from learning disabilities, there should be at least one IEP team member qualified to assess such issues, such as the school psychologist, speech-language pathologist, or remedial reading teacher.
Under Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56341 (c), at least one member must have observed the child’s academic performance in a general education classroom or a setting appropriate for the child’s age. Though the child’s teacher may witness their learning disabilities, an expert opinion is needed to identify the disability.
Attending IEP meetings is mandatory for all members of the IEP team. However, the parent and district can allow some members to be excused from the meetings if their services aren’t modified or discussed at a particular session.
Special Education Meeting
Individualized education programs are nothing to fear, as they have helped thousands of children deal with their learning challenges. The child’s school is usually the one to initiate the IEP process when students suffer from the following conditions:
Hearing or learning problems
ADHD or autism
Vision issues or language & speech impairment
It is important to note that preschool children do not require their academic performance to be evaluated by more than one teacher or professional in a general education classroom.
How Often Are IEP Meetings Held?
Both federal and state laws do not limit the number of IEP meetings a parent may request per year. However, there should be at least one IEP meeting every year or when:
A student received an initial assessment
The student demonstrates a lack of anticipated progress
The district proposes to revoke the special education services or eligibility
When a parent or teacher requests a meeting to either review, develop, or revise a child’s individualized education program
Under Cal. Ed. Code Sec. 56343, an IEP team meeting request can be made each time a child receives a new formal assessment.
How Long Do IEP Meetings Last?
Each child is unique and so are their special needs. Age, placement, or disability all play a role in the duration of IEP meetings. Due to this, IEP meetings can last from one to three hours or more. They are primarily scheduled in the early mornings or later afternoons to minimize the need for classroom substitutes.
How IEP Meetings Are Presented
The school staff is usually the first to determine if children need special education services. Once a child is deemed eligible for the IEP program and related services, an IEP meeting is held within 30 days to develop their program.
The school will notify the child’s parents of the date and location of the IEP meeting. At the meeting, the school staff will introduce themselves and invite the other team members to do so and state their relationship with the student and their observations.
The parents must receive a copy of their parental rights during the first IEP meeting. Time parameters will be set, and if not all agenda topics are addressed, another meeting must be scheduled.
A child’s IEP team is pivotal in guiding them toward a better and more secure future. The child’s strengths and weaknesses must be analyzed and focused on. If your child is denied IEP services or the IEP members aren’t conducting or participating in the IEP meetings, they may be held accountable. Contact a special education lawyer today at (949) 516-0633 for a free consultation on your case. Learn more about your child’s special education rights and services.