A Comprehensive Guide to a Manifestation Meeting

If you are unsure what a Manifestation Meeting is and whether it could help you, contact Brian R. Sciacca for professional assistance.

What Is a Manifestation Meeting?

In public schools or alternative educational settings, children are entitled to receive educational services. Generally, a team that consists of people who have the child’s best interests at heart help decide educational and behavioral plans for the child. It is called the Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Occasionally, the student’s IEP team decides to have a meeting to address a behavior violation of the school’s student code of conduct. These are called manifestation determinations or manifestation determination reviews.

Sometimes, this is due to an action on school premises that involves some other student. The IEP team must ascertain whether the action directly resulted from the child’s disability.

special education lawyer like Brian R. Sciacca, Attorney at Law, can help.

What Is a Manifestation Meeting IEP?

A IEP manifestation meeting is where the parents, teachers, and other school personnel come together to discuss the child’s needs and any relevant disciplinary procedures.

Some of the topics that are discussed in the manifestation determination meetings are:

  • What is working well for your child?
  • What are some things your child struggles with?
  • What do you think might need to be changed or added for your child to succeed?

Determining whether a child’s disability has a direct and substantial relationship to the child’s performance and behavior is often an ongoing and evolving pursuit. Failure to implement the IEP and related services can result in a behavior plan that is unnecessary or insufficient.

Why Is Having a Manifestation Meeting Important?

The purpose of these meetings is to examine your child’s disabilities and the misbehavior that occurred at the meeting. The meeting will seek to establish a causal connection between the misbehavior you observed and your child’s disability. Hence, manifestation meetings can be a defense against suspension or expulsion.

A manifestation meeting provides an opportunity for all the parties involved to figure out what they want to focus their energy on to achieve their goals for the student.

The three main goals of a manifestation meeting are:

  1. To help parents understand what their child’s needs will be in the future.
  2. To help parents understand how to plan for their child’s care in the future.
  3. To help parents understand what services will be available to them in the future.

Manifestation meetings are not about assigning tasks or people to tasks. They aim to ensure parents, children, and the child’s IEP team are on the same page regarding how best to meet the child’s needs. It gives children with disabilities an opportunity to learn about what behavior is expected in the future.

Who Does a Manifestation Determination Review Include?

A manifestation determination is used in the school discipline process to help students with disabilities who find themselves in trouble.

The meeting may be held by the IEP team and often includes: 

  • Parents
  • Teachers
  • Lawyers
  • Social workers
  • Doctors

How Is a Manifestation Meeting Helpful With an IEP?

A manifestation meeting is an IEP meeting that is held with a child and their parents to discuss their specific needs regarding their disability. It is not the same as a regular IEP meeting because it has more of an emotional focus.

A manifestation determination hearing can help an IEP team decide whether a behavior was:

  • A manifestation of the student’s disability.
  • Due to implemented behavioral intervention services.
  • Because they require a different disciplinary action.

Children are entitled to free appropriate public education, and a functional behavioral assessment can help them remain in the general school system rather than in an alternative educational setting. An informed lawyer like Brian R. Sciacca, Attorney at Law, can make sure that everyone’s rights are protected.

Can You Include a Manifestation Meeting in Special Education Services?

This type of meeting provides a time for all of the relevant parties to come together and discuss the student’s needs. The meeting is often run by the special education teacher but can be facilitated by other professionals, such as a speech therapist or occupational therapist.

The purpose of this meeting is to:

  • Create an individualized plan for the student.
  • Discuss how they will be monitored and evaluated.
  • Share information about the student’s progress with their IEP goals.

A skilled IEP attorney can be valuable in these types of meetings. Contact Brian R. Sciacca, Attorney at Law, to schedule a consultation.

What Is a Manifestation Determination Meeting Agenda?

The manifestation determination meeting helps determine the severity of a student’s physical or mental impairment. The agenda might include:

  • Review of the student’s IEP
  • Discussion about the new impairments or behavior issues
  • Determination of whether or not to amend the IEP

This type of ongoing support can quickly determine when a behavioral intervention plan is needed to help manage the student’s conduct and improve their scholastic success.

When Is a Manifestation Meeting Necessary?

There are occasionally special circumstances that require disciplinary actions regarding the use of illegal drugs or serious bodily injury.

Many meetings also address whether any of the following need to be considered for further evaluation:

  • Current placement and whether a change of placement is needed
  • Child menu
  • Child’s misbehavior
  • IEP process
  • Procedural safeguards

These issues would be affecting the child’s overall performance and behaviour. The team should identify any accommodations or modifications that are needed and then develop a plan for implementing them in school.

How To Prepare for a Manifestation Meeting

Parents who want to enroll their children in an IEP program should prepare for a manifestation meeting by gathering relevant information. This meeting is usually scheduled by the school district, state, or county. One of its purposes is to determine whether the child meets eligibility requirements for special education services or should follow the general education curriculum.

At this meeting, parents should bring with them:

  • A copy of their child’s most recent IEP
  • Any evaluations or assessments that have been conducted on the child
  • Any medical records that pertain to their child’s condition

To further prepare for a meeting to determine or alter a child’s IEP, you might want to hire a professional lawyer to protect the child’s rights.

Manifestation Meetings: Can a Legal Professional Help?

An annual manifestation meeting allows professionals to discuss the educational needs of the student with a team of educators and parents. These meetings are a vital part of ensuring that students receive the special education services they need. A lawyer may be able to help facilitate this process by providing:

If you’re looking for help with conducting a manifestation meeting, consider hiring a lawyer to help you out. Contact Brian R. Sciacca, Attorney at Law, for questions about manifestation determination.