What to bring to the meeting
The most important thing you can bring to an Individualized Education Plans (IEP) meeting is a feeling that you’re prepared and ready to participate. Spend time thinking about your frustrations and concerns, as well as areas where your child is doing well. Check out the article titled ‘Advocacy and the IEP’ and use the IEP Worksheet and IEP Meeting Agenda tools on this website to help you think through the meeting and create your own agenda to bring with you. I created the tools to help you plan and prepare and help keep you calm and guide you through the meeting. If you don’t have time to use the tools, bring a notebook or paper to take notes. If you have just a minute, jot down some of your concerns, and your child’s strengths to bring with you.
It’s also helpful to bring:
- Most recent IEP Goals and progress reports
- Report Card
- Copies of any new healthcare reports/forms
- New information you feel will be relevant to meeting
- Your notes and questions
- Paper and pens to take notes
- Bottle of water
- Bring someone close to you to the meeting for support
- Snacks and activities for your child if he/she will be attending the meeting
What to do during the meeting
- Take Notes. I can’t stress enough how important it is to take notes. If you’ve printed out the IEP Agenda, keep track on the back of the form. Notes are your lifeline if something goes wrong, notes are your lifeline if you are like me and tend to forget things! Write everything down, including the date and time of the meeting.
- Stay focused. Stay focused on the purpose of the meeting. If the school scheduled the meeting, they should have informed you of the purpose of the meeting. If you called for the meeting, then all the more reason to make sure everyone stays on track. If someone brings up a different topic that you’re unprepared to discuss let them know it’s not on the agenda and you are not prepared to discuss it at this time. You don’t want to feel ambushed!
- Dos & Don’ts: These meetings are really hard and it’s easy to get angry or upset. Try, try, try to keep your cool. Don’t shame anyone or say nasty things, it will only come back to haunt you. Believe me, I have had my share of meetings where my temper got the best of me, and/or I dissolved into tears, effectively ending the meeting. It’s ok to be passionate; you just don’t want to do it in a negative way. Practice going over the tough topics with a friend, and use the resources on the Wrightslaw website (wrightslaw.com) to help you come up with a game plan. I also use the table below to help phrase questions or state my points/what I want to get done. It really works!
- After the meeting: Follow-up with an email or letter to everyone that attended the meeting. Using your notes from the meeting, write a summary of the meeting and the changes or actions you understand will be taken, including who each task is/was assigned to. Include any references to time or date as to when this will occur, if this wasn’t mentioned, suggest something yourself.
Use the following table to help with difficult discussions during the meeting.
Advocacy and Inquiry
Advocacy is . . . Speaking our own mind or viewpoint without making someone else wrong.
Inquiry is . . . Slowing down our normal response pattern to ask genuine questions and show interest.
|What I saw happening was…||Did I miss something?|
|I think it would be a good idea if we tried to…||What do you think?|
|I suggest we…||Do you see things differently?|
Advocacy & Inquiry table courtesy of Dr. Angela Rosenberg, DrPH, PT, BCC, Board Certified Coach and Leadership Consultant- www.insideoutenneagram.com.