IEP Meeting Questions
Over the past decade, I have attended hundreds of IEP meetings and met with hundreds of families. And, with the large chat group, the other admins and I have answered literally thousands of questions about IEP meetings.
Sure, the I is for Individual. Still, I see a lot of commonalities.
Common IEP Meeting Questions
- What is an IEP meeting? An IEP meeting is an annual event for the IEP team to get together and review and update the student’s IEP. Remember that the IEP meeting is just one small part of a much larger IEP process.
- Who attends an IEP meeting? IDEA has a list of mandated IEP team members. However, anyone who has significant and relevant information about the child should attend. An example would be that IDEA does not require speech or occupational therapists to attend, but their input is often relevant.
- Who facilitates an IEP meeting? This varies from district to district and is not defined by IDEA. An ultimate goal would be for the student to run their own IEP meeting.
- Who can request an IEP meeting? Any member of the IEP team can request a meeting.
- Who should I bring to an IEP meeting? A parent can and should bring anyone who has significant and relevant information about the student. Professionally, I discourage parents from bringing grandparents or godparents. These folks might be passionate about your child, but often have little understanding of the process.
- Who can attend an IEP meeting? Anyone who is invited by another IEP team member and has relevant information about the child.
- Can an IEP meeting be held without a parent? In some rare cases, yes. The school district has to make significant efforts to contact you and include the parent, but in rare cases, holding a meeting without the parent is warranted. Here is what IDEA says about Parent Participation. And, check your state regs!
- Can parents request an IEP meeting? Absolutely! It is a right and a privilege for parents to request an IEP meeting whenever they feel it is necessary.
- Can I record my IEP meeting? Yes, just make sure that you are following the recording laws for your state.
- What to expect in an IEP meeting? Some teams have a separate IEP meeting agenda typed up. Others do not and just go through the IEP, section by section, and decide on revisions and updates.
- What happens in an IEP meeting? It’s a business meeting. The team reviews the child’s evaluations, progress monitoring reports and IEP.
- What to ask for in an IEP meeting? That is going to depend upon the child. The I in IEP stands for individual, and no two children are alike. Make sure that you are actively participating in all 5 parts of the IEP process.
- What’s a kindergarten IEP meeting? A kindergarten IEP meeting is just like any other IEP meeting. However, it might feel different because your child is entering elementary school. There are many differences between preschool and elementary school, and here is a list of questions to ask during the preschool to kindergarten transition.
- What to bring to an IEP meeting? Ideally, you have already sent in your Parent Concerns Letter. I would bring that and any other items you wish to discuss. If you have an IEP Organizer, that makes this decision much easier. You already have your items in one spot and you look more professional.
- How do I prepare for an IEP meeting? This is a beef that I have with parents. They put a lot of emphasis on the IEP meeting, when the IEP process is a year-long one. You don’t want your IEP team thinking about your IEP only once a year, do you? So you shouldn’t either. You need to be doing all 5 parts and that will make sure you are adequately prepared for your IEP meeting.
- Is there an IEP meeting checklist for parents? Why yes, I have one in that link.
- What to say in IEP meeting? Well, that depends. For many parents, an IEP meeting requires that you step out of your comfort zone and be a bit more confrontational than usual. You can read this and other IEP meeting tips here.
- Can an IEP meeting be postponed? Of course! Life happens and sometimes meetings have to be postponed. Districts will often not want to do this and risk being out of compliance. However, sometimes it is necessary.
- What is a facilitated IEP meeting? A facilitated IEP meeting is one in which an outside, impartial facilitator is brought in to run the meeting. This person can be requested by any member of the IEP team and usually happens once the meetings are starting to get contentious.
- Do gifted students have IEP meetings? Yes, but not in every state. Check your state’s Dept of Ed website to see if Gifted is recognized.
- What to wear to an IEP meeting? I’m so glad you asked! Because what you wear to an IEP meeting matters. It’s a business meeting and you should treat it as such.
- Can we do the IEP meeting by phone? You can, but I don’t recommend it. Sometimes there are going to be extenuating circumstances that warrant this. However, getting together, face to face, seeing body language and having open communication is essential. Plus, most phone conferencing software sucks and is hard to hear.
- How should an IEP meeting conclude? This will vary from team to team and child to child. It depends on what was discussed and how the team decided to proceed from here. Sometimes more evaluations are warranted or even another meeting. Just make sure you do your after meeting letter (see below) to ensure you’re all on the same page.
- What happens after an IEP meeting? Unfortunately, for too many parents, after the IEP meeting they breathe a sigh of relief and just wait until next year’s meeting. But, after the IEP meeting, I recommend that all parents do an after meeting letter. You can get more details there.
- Can we do my IEP meeting in Spanish? Absolutely. Look in your Procedural Safeguards to see what is said about parents’ native language.
- How to win an IEP meeting? This attitude needs to be checked at the door. IEPs are a collaborative effort and you should be working with the team, not against them. If your IEP meetings are combative, you need to bring in a facilitator.
- How long should an IEP meeting last? This will vary depending on the child, their needs and how much pre-work was done.
- How is an IEP meeting is conducted? This will vary from district to district and is not defined by IDEA.
- What is an initial IEP meeting? Just what it says. It’s your first IEP meeting. The IEP team has done their evaluations and determined that an IEP is warranted. Know that there are very few IEP teams who knock it out of the park on the first attempt. However, an IEP is a living document that can be updated at any time.
- How to request an IEP meeting? In writing, always. More tips in that link.
- What is an interim IEP meeting? This is not a term defined by IDEA. But it is generally accepted that it means that an IEP meeting is being held, but another will need to be held in the near future. This is usually due to more information being needed to complete the IEP.
- What is an emergency IEP meeting? Only two states recognize the concept of an Emergency IEP meeting. Read that link for more details.
- When should an IEP meeting be held? Per IDEA, it should be held annually.
- Can there be an IEP amendment without a meeting? Yes, not every change to an IEP warrants bringing together the team for a meeting.
- Who or What is the LEA at an IEP Meeting? You can read that link for a full explanation.