How long does my school have to….
- respond to email?
- schedule an IEP meeting?
- evaluate my child?
- send me the final draft of the IEP?
All those questions and more are answered below.
Common Questions from Parents about IEP Timelines
How long does the school have to evaluate my child?
Assuming that you have made your request in writing and signed the Permission to Evaluate, IDEA says 60 days. Some states have shortened that to 30 or 45 days. But for most, it is 60. Once they have evaluated the child, they then have 30 days to draw up an IEP. This is why it is essential to put your request in writing as soon as you think you might want this for your child. By itself, the IEP process is very slow. Here is the direct wording from IDEA:
Please note that this timeline in IDEA is only for initial evaluations. IDEA does not define timelines for re-evaluations. Since IEPs have a renewal date, the assumption is made that they will be completed prior to the IEP team meeting to renew the IEP.
Please note that this is the same for FBAs, as they are considered an evaluation.
I emailed the school to ask for a meeting, how long do they have to respond? To schedule the meeting?
There are a couple of states that define this specifically and say 10-30 days. Most do not, and IDEA says “reasonable.” Please know that in IDEA, there is no such thing as an “Emergency IEP Meeting.”
We had the IEP meeting. How long do they have to get me the final copy of the IEP?
After the IEP meeting, assuming that changes were made to the IEP during the meeting, the team has a “reasonable” amount of time to get it to you. I usually give a week or two before I start pestering, depending on the situation. This is why the “after IEP meeting letter” is important.
I emailed the teacher about something. When does he/she have to get back to me?
IDEA does not mention or address this at all as part of the IEP timelines. In my advocacy business and personally with my own child, I generally give team members 3-5 days to get back to me. If they haven’t I give them another nudge. After the 2nd or 3rd attempt, if still unanswered, then I start going up the chain of command.
How far in advance should I be invited to the IEP meeting?
Some states say 10 days. IDEA says that you should be “Notified parents of the meeting early enough to ensure that they will have an opportunity to attend; and..”
It is interesting to note that IDEA does specifically say “At a mutually agreed on time and place” and case law has strongly upheld this.
If we make changes to an IEP, when do those changes go into effect?
This specific issue is not defined in IDEA, so make sure you bring it up at the meeting or in your after IEP meeting letter. If this is an initial IEP or renewal, you should expect there would be dates listed on your IEP defining this.
How often does my child get evaluated/re-evaluated for the IEP?
IDEA says minimally every three years. Some states have lessened that time frame.
Wrapping up, again, I can’t stress it enough. The IEP process all by itself is slow. And when you throw in weekends, holidays and summers, it can be even slower. If you have any concerns that will require IEP evaluations or an IEP meeting, ask for it in writing.
When you have time, start poking around this article and all the links in it.