#1: When you put your request for an IEP meeting in writing, request exactly how much time you think you’ll need for the meeting.
If you need an hour, request an hour. If you need an hour and a half, or 2 hours, request it and do not allow them to give you no as an answer. Tell them your agenda will not be completed in less time and you do not want to come back for a continuation meeting.
#2: Before the meeting, make sure you get a NOM (Notice of Meeting) which is essentially an IEP invitation.
If anyone shows up to your IEP meeting and their name was not written on the meeting notice, you have the right to ask them to leave and they have to leave the meeting before it begins. If anyone is not there that was written on the meeting notice, you have the right to reschedule because all mandated team members must be there.
#3: Anyone who is attending the IEP meeting is required to stay for the entire IEP meeting unless the parent is ready to excuse them.
If you are not ready to excuse them from the meeting, they are obligated to stay in the meeting. The district must inform you if a mandated team member cannot be present at the meeting by sending you an Excusal Form. You have the right not to agree to excuse them by not signing the form.
#4: You have a right to have a copy of the completed IEP, meeting notes, and any other documents that were completed in the meeting before you leave the meeting.
When districts email parents the IEP 2 and 3 weeks after the IEP, this is a violation of state and federal law. When they delay in getting you the IEP so you can sign and specify what you agree with, they have delayed your child in getting the help they need!
#5: Any time you ask the team for a specific service for your child, any kind of help, anything at all, and the team denies your request, you have the right to receive from them a (PWN) Prior Written Notice of Refusal.
This is the district’s written explanation of why they denied your request.
#6: The school must work with you and give you reasonable notice of your upcoming meeting, and give you time to prepare for the meeting, make arrangements at work, childcare, etc.
They cannot force you to meet at a specific date and time. Please know this: Two or three days is not reasonable notice. A week to 10 days is generally considered reasonable notice. When a parent asks for a meeting, they wait 30 days to calendar one. When they are calling a meeting, they give the parent a 3-day notice… do you think that is fair? Hold them accountable to honoring your parent rights because they are not going to do it unless you stand up and speak up.
#7 Record every IEP meeting without question.
When you have a recording, you have the evidence of what was agreed upon, who said what, and what was done or not done. You can hold them accountable for making mistakes in the IEP or leaving out important information if you have a recording.
These are some of your basic parent rights that districts violate at every IEP meeting because parents are not aware that IDEA endows you power as an equal IEP team participant.
If you begin to implement these simple steps, you will begin to feel more confident at the IEP table.
Here’s to your advocacy success,
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