IEP Timelines for Parent Requests
How long does a school have to:
- respond to email?
- schedule an IEP meeting?
- evaluate my child?
- begin services in a new school year?
- send me the final draft of the IEP?
All those questions and more are answered below.
I’ve compiled the common questions that parents ask about IEP timelines below.
Parent Requests about IEP Timelines
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. Please note that this is the same for FBAs, as they are considered an evaluation.
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.
By itself, the IEP process is very slow. Here is the direct wording from IDEA:
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.”
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.
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.
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.
IDEA does not specifically address this, except in that IEPs are to be implemented every single day that the child is in school. However, is it reasonable to expect OT or PT to happen on day one? That’s for you to decide. Personally, I feel that they should have a schedule to you the first week with services beginning the second week of school. To me, that is reasonable. If I haven’t heard anything after the first week, I start emailing.
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.
A IEP is good for one year and those dates should be listed on the IEP. However, schools do fall out of compliance and sometimes meetings are held past the renewal date. In that instance, it is assumed that the current IEP is the IEP that is followed until a new one is agreed upon and implemented. It is up to the parent if they wish to file compliance complaints.
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.
How to Request IEP Evaluations + 25 other IEP letter templates.
IEE Independent Education Evaluations: When, why and how to request one.
Parental Rights/IDEA Procedural Safeguards, explained by an IEP Advocate.
5 Parts of the IEP process not to be missed! (by parents)
An IEP vs. a 504? How to decide.
50 Common IEP Meeting Questions
What is an IEP? A Guide to Getting Started, for Parents.
How to get an IEP for your child.
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