Five Ways to Make IEP meetings Seamless!

  1.  Build effective communication: Most recently I was assigned testing a student 2 28 IEP Cover (2)for special education services. Prior to the formal meeting to discuss findings, I invited parents to a pre-meeting to educate parents on specific vocabulary that they would be hearing in the meeting, ways to interpret scores from tests both standardized  and scaled scores as well as what they would experience with behavior scales.

I began the pre-meeting with some history of who I was both professionally and personally. Parents shared the history of their child’s education and their academic concerns.  They also shared their hopes and personal interests. We discussed and agreed on the best ways to communicate effectively and respectfully.

I reviewed my academic assessment as well as the psychologists report. We discussed         qualification for special education services being a team decision.  Parents left the  meeting informed and had an opportunity to do their own research prior to the initial formal meeting.

  1.  Be trustworthy: Make every opportunity for transparency available. Don’t have any hidden agendas. You build trust as you experience the other person as someone who is sincere, safe, reliable, and respectful of you and your needs.  Let parents understand that you have their child’s best interest at heart and you are open and willing to help. Consider sharing your home number so that if parents have burning questions on the weekend they can be addressed. I share my home number regularly and in 30 years of working in special education it has never been abused. People like to be heard and it is just one simple strategy for building trust.

3. Be respectful: Realize that an IEP team is just that—a team.  Respect takes place               when we consider others rights, values, boundaries, feelings and sensitivities as we               interact.  Prior to speaking try to understand what is being said from the other person’s       point of view.  Address and acknowledge the other person’s point of view. In a                       respectful relationship both parties need to be willing to share their opinion without               attacking or damaging the relationship.


  1.  Create shared goals: Parents are an integral part of the IEP process. Make sure to ask them what their goals are for their child in the present as well as the future. Be sure to educate parents along the way so that they know what to expect academically.  Two great resources are State Standards/Common Core Assessments by grade level. These resources will allow parents to see where their child is compared to their peers.

5.  Be consistent: Understand that process exist to support students, staff and parents.         It allows a team to be effective and consistent and assures quality and efficiency.                   Establish boundaries for meeting norms and stick to them. Always have one another’s         best interest at heart and mutual intention will be realized.  My grandmother used to           tell me that when we are honest and our expectations are not to take advantage of               someone but instead are truly mutually satisfying, then true joy is achieved.

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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