Tips to Combine Advocacy and Cooperation at IEP Meetings

Identify & Prioritize Your Objectives Before the Meeting Being prepared for your child’s IEP meeting is critical. It is probably a good idea to make a list of factors that are important to you before the meeting and highlight those items that are essential to your child’s educational program. In doing so, you will be able to assess what you are and are not willing to compromise over. This will make you an informed and skilled advocate for your child’s needs.

Use Your Child’s Evaluations to Identify Your Objectives & Support Your Requests for Services and Programming Frequently glossed over, the recommendations on the reports and evaluations are a source of strong objectives that will help identify the “core components that should be a part of your child’s educational program and placement.” Parents should provide the district with any reports and evaluations prior to the meeting so the team has ample time to review the materials.

Get a Feel for the “Temperature” of the IEP Team If the team is being responsive, continue to request all of the services and supports in the IEP. Just know compromise.

Always Remain Open-Minded and Willing to Consider the District’s Recommendations Unfortunately, some school districts are not willing (or are not able) to consider additional services or recommendations for your child. (This is the case in New York City for children diagnosed with ASD who require a full-time 1:1 ABA program and placement. The New York Center for Autism Charter School is the only school that offers these services at a center based setting, on a very limited enrollment. Shema Kolainu offers ABA in our classrooms with a ratio or 6:1:3 or in home based settings) By remaining open minded and working with the district, parents can hope to avoid “due process” lawsuits, however at times it is necessary to in order to properly advocate for your child.

Based on an article written by Maria C. McGinley, Esq.