Difficult IEP Meetings!

Difficult IEP meetings occur when there are misaligned expectations, misunderstandings, or more often poor communication.  Poor communication can be the result of many things including lack of education for the IEP process or poor understanding of the paperwork and proceedings.

Most recently, I had a call from a parent who was concerned because his child hasn’t been making progress. When I had asked how progress was being measured, he couldn’t tell me.  He only knew that if his child didn’t have one on one assistance, the child would not work. He also stated that he wanted his child to have an Ipad as part of his assistive technology.

Unfortunately, if this parent had entered the IEP meeting with his intentions of getting a one on one and an Ipad just because… the IEP team would have not understood his intention and the consequence would have led to misunderstanding, drama and pain for the parent and team.

My advice is to not only identify what you think your child/student might need to be successful but to also base those needs in data.  My collaborator, Tarane, always says, “Without data, all you have is an opinion.” An opinion is not going to get you too far with your IEP team.

After working with this parent for several hours we were able to put together a solid plan of action to take to the IEP team.  I was able to explain to him how the IEP goals were written and measured. We also talked about how he could support the goals at home.

The most important part of our plan would be open, honest communication.  In order to ensure that the IEP team members understood his concern, we drafted a letter to be added to the IEP that listed the parents concerns.  This is always a good practice.  Parents have the right to have their concerns heard and addressed.  By writing concerns down they are more readily understood by all members of the team. In addition, requesting that your concerns are added to the IEP provides legal documentation of your concerns.

In addition, we discussed why the parent felt that his child needed one on one assistance.  We documented how the child worked with and without assistance and outlined that for the team and we requested an evaluation plan be written for a SCIA (Special Circumstance Instructional Assistance).  In addition, we requested an assistive technology assessment for an Ipad/tablet or other computing device.  The parent shared that the family owned an Ipad and his child knew how to use it and benefitted from using it as a communication tool.

If you have questions or concerns regarding your child’s IEP it is always a benefit to talk it out with a non-biased party.  Please feel free to send in any of your questions or concerns.


Special Education Teacher with over thirty-years of experience…

About talkcounts

Diana Loiewski has been teaching special needs students for over thirty years. She not only is a classroom high school teacher, she also serves as an administrative designee in IEP meetings, and case work trainer for the military Exceptional Family Member Program. In addition, she presents on special education topics all over the country and is a co author of Individual Education Plan Workbook for Success, and Healthy Relationships a multimedia workbook for special education teens and adults. ___________________________________________________________________ Elizabeth Dominick is the parent of an 18-year-old special needs student. Elizabeth and her husband navigated the special needs odyssey from the time their son was 3 years old to the present. She and her husband have placed their son in both public and private settings and have worked with attorney advocates to get better services. Ultimately, they ended up educating themselves on special education law. Elizabeth is a past reporter and editor and currently writes parent meditations and other articles for iepsurvival.com. __________________________________________________________________ Sharon McCormick is a special education teacher and blogger. She has been in the classroom for over fifteen years. Prior to that time, she worked with emotionally disturbed youth in residential and group home settings. She is clever and creative and enjoys supporting students with special education needs. ___________________________________________________________________________ Renee Tompkins is a graduate of Illinois State University with a Master’s Degree in Speech and Language Services. She is an amazing and energetic professional with fifteen years of experience working directly with special needs students. She also serves as a board member of the Special Education Foundation and supports fundraising efforts for teachers within the Poway Unified School District. She is currently employed with the Poway Unified School District and she delivers services to both groups and individuals in the transition program working with adults eighteen-years-- twenty-two years of age. Her current responsibilities include organizing and running a healthy relationship program with both men and women with intellectual disabilities.
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