3 Helpful Questions You Should Be Asking About Your IEP by Tasha Whittaker-BennettJul 25, 2022
Does your child need an extra helping hand while at school?
Do you find yourself asking “What school would give my child the support they need?”
Under IDEA, public schools have to provide a free and appropriate education program, which is outlined in each child’s Individual Education Program (IEPs). The IEP lays out what goals and support services will be provided for a child with special needs, and what they need in order to succeed in school.
The common misconception that parents seem to have is that when it comes to their child's development, that by simply attending a good school means that their child is being taught the right things.
That isn’t always the case.
I know most parents always desire the best for their children, no matter where they are on the spectrum----good health, quality education, and loving relationships, to name a few. However, you don’t want to be caught in a situation where you realize your child grew up learning all the wrong things with little to no progress to function in the real world.
That’s why I emphasize that knowing what the IEP entails is significant before moving forward with the plan. As a mother of an autistic son who sits at the IEP table. Trust me; I know what it means when a child requires unique learning needs. Asking questions will allow you to gather information, learn new things, and strengthen your relationships with other team members in unique ways.
So, if you're a parent who attends IEP meetings and wants to know more, this article is for you. Here are some helpful questions that are worth asking about IEPs:
1. Is this an official IEP meeting?
Please remember that IEP and parent-teacher meetings are like apples and oranges; they are not similar in any way. Therefore, be sure to find out which type of meeting is taking place ahead of time. This way, you will be prepared.
2. Which players are involved in the development of the IEP?
Often, IEP decisions are usually made by people we don't work with your child on a daily basis. That’s why it’s crucial to ask what role they play in your child's school life and their titles. Don't be shy, ask more questions.
3. What are the rules of an IEP?
Sometimes IEP conversations are deficit focused. For instance, a child’s disability levels vs. the support they need to grow, develop, and reach their potential. It’s 100% OKAY to flip the focus and help the IEP team focus on both strengths and deficits.
Learning about an IEP can be overwhelming because it’s a lot of information to take in. Remember, to whom much is given, much is required. Don’t be shy to bring your experience to the IEP table, you are a key member!
About the Author:
Tasha is a mother of an autistic son. A certified Specialized Educational Consultant; 15+ years of experience in social work education, certified IEP coach, and holds a degree in Human Services. To relax, she enjoys bike riding with her twins.
If you liked this and want more IEP strategies, then you’ll love these episodes of the Special Education Inner Circle podcast:
- #138: You Can't Fix an IEP without THIS!
- #135: 3 Decisions Every Great IEP Team Needs to Make
- #103: IEP Goal Writing for Parents
Write Better IEP Goals. Reduce IEP Conflict.