Your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting is critical. It gives parents, educators, and other support staff a chance to sit down and communicate about the school’s plan to accommodate your child’s unique learning needs. This meeting provides an opportunity to convey your questions and concerns about your child’s learning environment, school policies, and more.
One of the best ways to ensure you understand what is included in your child’s IEP is to ask questions. For some parents, however, an IEP meeting can be overwhelming, confusing, and somewhat intimidating. Remember, you are there to represent your child! Be an advocate and use the following suggested questions to get the conversation going.
1. When and how should I contact you?
You need to know how to get in touch with your child’s IEP team whenever you need to do so. If there is a specific time that works best for them to discuss updates, plans, or address concerns, they should provide you with that information as well. Set progress report meetings up now, so you have a workable strategy moving forward.
2. How can I build on my child’s strengths?
Keep in mind that you are a member of your child’s learning team too. Ask the group what they feel are your child’s best abilities or strengths. Learn how to develop those strengths at home and encourage participation in the classroom. Many IEP meetings will focus on your child’s weaknesses and how to improve those areas, but knowing how to support your child’s strengths and skills can be very useful as well.
3. What does progress look like? What type of growth can I expect?
Your child’s school may have assessments or testing that they use to determine how your child is progressing, but you may not see that type of progress at home. Ask how you will know if your child is doing better or is learning more. The specialists on your child’s team are just that—specialists. They use confusing terms or reference developmental milestones that you may not understand. Ask specifically what progress will look like at home (if possible), so you know whether your child is on the right track.
4. What can my child expect in the classroom on a day-to-day basis?
There are a variety of methods that your child’s team can use in and out of the classroom. Knowing what your child will experience on a daily basis is often very comforting for concerned parents. Will your child remain in the classroom all day or will he or she be taken out for additional one-on-one learning time?
5. What changes have you noticed lately?
Checking on progress is essential. Ask what types of changes your child’s support team have noticed. Are these changes bad? Good? Expected? Delayed? Some changes can be red flags that signify potential problem areas. You may be able to address them before they become serious.
Contact an Experienced Special Education Lawyer
Your child’s IEP team is there to support your child, and he or she often will not be able to communicate to the team effectively. That is your job as a parent or guardian! If you have trouble getting your questions answered, the team at Matus Law can help. Give us a call at 1 (732) 281-0060 to see how we can help.