The Parent/Guardian Role in the IEP Process
Your student’s individualized Education Program (IEP) is developed at the IEP team meeting. This is the time for you to share your ideas and concerns about your child’s education. School personnel will contact you about the meeting. You might receive either a written notice or a phone call. The team may be made up of yourself, your student (if appropriate), the classroom teacher, the school principal, the school psychologist, and possibly others such as therapists, nurses, home school coordinators and case managers from various agencies. IEPs must be reviewed and revised at least once a year. As we develop the relationship between the school and the family, it is important to build a partnership that result in an effective team. As members of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, parents/guardians and the school personnel are equal partners. As a team, school personnel and parents need to work together to accomplish the goal of identifying and meeting the student’s educational and support needs. The goal is to keep the attention focused on the student so the team can design an appropriate program to best fulfill the needs of the student.
As the parent guardian you play a vital role in the IEP Process by adding benefits such as:
- Increasing the teacher’s understanding of the student’ environment
- Adding to the parent’s knowledge of the student’s educational setting
- Improving communication between parent/guardian and school
- Increasing the school’s understanding of the student
- Increasing the likelihood that, with improved understanding between home and school mutually agreed upon educational goals will be attained.
As an active IEP team member one of the most important things you can do to prepare for the meeting is to review the goals from the current IEP. Which goals are the most important to you as a parent? Which goals are most important to help your student prepare and achieve when s/he graduates from school? Make a list of questions you might wish to ask about the progress your student has made in achieving these goals. *Were the goals met last year? *Should they be continued or deleted from the coming year? *Write down some goals you would like to see your student achieve in the coming year. *Which skills would you like your child to learn? *Which behaviors would you like to see improved? Before the meeting, spend sometime speaking with your student to see what is going well in school and what s/he would like to do better. Prepare a list of your student’s strengths and weaknesses. Include such items as: hobbies, behavior at home, relationship with family and friends, and difficulties or strengths you may have noticed. A focus on your student’s interests, and preferences and looking toward the future will significantly influence the atmosphere, the results and the content of the IEP meeting.
Questions to consider:
What are some of your student’s strengths? (what is he/she good at)____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What is going really well in school this year?__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What would you like to see your student achieve in the coming year?___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Which skills would you like your student to learn?___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Which behaviors would you like to see improved?_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
What does your student enjoy doing outside of school? (hobbies, activities, etc)_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Do you have any questions or concerns?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________