{Ask an Advocate} agreed upon IEP different from one Mom received

Today’s question:

I signed a signature page for my child’s IEP based on what the school and I had agreed to. The school noted what we had agreed to and read the deliberations and then I signed it. The school said they would email the whole IEP to me later. However, when I finally got the entire IEP, there were changes in several sections that I do not agree with. How do I get them to note that I did not agree to the changed sections? I do have the ARD taped that would show I never agreed to those things.

First, thanks for contacting me and hope I can help. In some states, they call an IEP meeting an ARD meeting. So for starters I know that you are not here in PA.

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Trying to wrap my head around all of this. From the sounds of it, you did not receive even a draft copy during the ARD meeting, correct? But you did record/tape the meeting…was this with or without the school district’s knowledge and approval?

Ok, let me back up a bit…and this is not to beat you up over what you “coulda, shoulda, woulda done….” These are just my tips going forward. I will be very brief and you can search on this site and see many times I have written much more detailed stuff about parental concerns and so on. But these are my basic steps for an IEP (ARD) meeting to follow.

  • Accept invitation and submit parental concerns.
  • Attend meeting.
  • Do not sign anything except attendance sheet and Procedural Safeguards notice at meeting.
  • Day after meeting–follow up in writing to whoever led the meeting. Bullet point out everything that was discussed and agreed upon.
  • Receive the IEP and it should match your follow up letter.

Again, this isn’t to beat you up and tell you what you should have done, but once we get your family over this hurdle, please consider these tips in the future. Many advocates follow this protocol with their clients to prevent exactly your situation from happening.

But, you didn’t receive a draft, you only verbally agreed upon the specific items, and now you have no documentation going forward to work with that supports your case. As far as taping the meeting, I absolutely would fall back on that…if the recording was made with their knowledge. If it wasn’t, then this is way over my head–you’d need to seek legal assistance as far as recording a meeting without consent. If that’s not permissible, then the recording is pretty useless.

I would do a letter.

Dear {person who led meeting}, I am in receipt of my son Patrick’s IEP. I am writing to you because what I am seeing in his IEP does not agree with what we agreed upon in the meeting. For example:

  • We agreed 1 hour a week of speech, IEP says 1 hour a month
  • we agreed for him to have a PCA four hours a day, the IEP does not list this
  • You can see that I’m making up the details, but you get the idea.

If you already signed the NOREP and the IEP, you’re going to have to state in writing “I previously signed that I am in agreement with his IEP and placement, however I am rescinding my approval because…….and list the reasons.” Again, this is why I always recommend to not sign anything at the meeting–wait until you have the final copy in hand. It’s not impossible to undo this, but it’s messier.

From there, you’re going to have to wait and see how they respond and gauge your response. You are going to have the standard options on the NOREP–agree, disagree, file for DP and so on. At the top of the blog we have a page listing attorneys and advocates, maybe there is one for your state. Or, you can always contact your state’s Protection and Advocacy group.

Good luck and keep us posted!

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Hi, I'm Lisa, owner and main writer for this site. I live in Chester County, PA with my husband and two boys. I work PT as a Special Education Advocate and Disabilities Consultant, plus I have this blog and a weekly newspaper column. Thanks for reading!


  1. Judi says

    I saw a similar question on another forum. The school presented a finalized document at a meeting that didn’t contain what the parents felt was appropriate.

    I did some research and this was a state where the NOREP and IEP/ARD attendance sheet are one in the same. If the final document is different from what is presented/said at the meeting or the parents don’t agree to what is presented, the parents have signed their agreement by signing the attendance sheet. This sort of system assumes that there will be 100% accuracy between what gets said at the meeting and what is written in the IEP. It doesn’t allow for mistakes or misinterpretations. A letter from the parent stating that the IEP is not what they expected sounds like a great start. Shouldn’t a question about what needs to be done to get the IEP to reflect what was verbally agreed to be part of the letter? Are there some states where mediation and due process are the only options if the school and parents don’t agree?

    I’m wondering what the solution is.

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