What Happens Before the IEP Meeting
First, you must know the services that are provided through your child’s school district. Knowing ahead of time what is available helps parents feel more comfortable making suggests it to the IEP team.
Parents also need to research their child’s specific school. Learn about all the services that are provided by the school including classes, amenities, and accessibility. If you know the facts ahead of time, you will find yourself better prepared for the IEP meeting. It is also helpful if parents can meet their child’s teacher prior to the initial meeting. Knowing someone in the meeting will help you feel more comfortable, and it is important to have a good relationship with your child’s teacher and establish open lines of communication from the start.
Every parent should research their child’s disability, and although most parents already know quite a bit, there is a wealth of information available regarding specific disabilities online.
Another resource that can be very helpful to contact prior to a meeting can be the parents of other special needs students. Look for parents who have already experienced an IEP meeting at the same school or with the same district. These parents can provide valuable information about what can be expected at the initial meeting. There are also a number of support groups across the country. Check with your local intermediate unit to find out about support groups in your area.
There are also a number of websites that provide additional resources for parents of children with disabilities. The United States Department of Education website also has a great amount of resources.