Are your concerns being heard at IEP meetings?

bad meetingOne of the best ways to share your concerns at an IEP meeting is by communicating openly and honestly.  Write your concerns down on paper and make sure they make sense. Consider sharing your concerns prior to the IEP meeting with the case manager, so the team can begin to proactively think about how to best address them.

My mother always told me that it is about the presentation. Be thoughtful, ask questions and genuinely listen for answers. Don’t attack and avoid “you” statements.  Instead stick with “I” statements. Speak with intention and don’t get offended if someone disagrees with you.  It is not about winning, it is about being heard and having your concerns addressed.

Now, that all that has been said, let me share how I would address a concern. If my concern was with academic progress, I would gather student work samples, progress to goals, and current grades. I would request an IEP meeting in writing stating that I was worried that my son/daughter was not making progress academically based on the work samples that were coming home.

Once the meeting was held, I would present my evidence and ask for input from the team. I would be prepared with specific questions and even probing types of questions as to what other resources might be available. Staying calm throughout the process will allow the team to best see my point of view.

Creating a unified perspective will go a long way towards the common goal which is what is best for the child and his/her education.  In order to create this common perspective, a common language must be agreed upon.   Ask team members to define vocabulary that you don’t understand. Remember to stay calm and don’t allow your emotions to become heated.  There may be some defensiveness from one, or all members of the meeting.  It is perfectly acceptable to question, reflect, pause, and clarify, in order to ensure that a unified perspective is being developed.

If you feel that your concerns are not being heard, send us your story and let us help.




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 __________________________________________________________________ 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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