Conducting an IEP meeting
The parent can choose to conduct this meeting themselves or request the assistance of a special education coordinator provided by the school district. As the parent becomes more experienced, they may find it easier to take over conducting these meetings themselves.
Be sure to take all of your forms and documents, especially letters including physician's instructions, with you.
Take notes as the meeting progresses, keeping track of all concerns and goals addressed on your action forms. If the staff does not know you or your child well, be prepared to allow extensive time for questions and providing explanation regarding your child's unique situation. No two IEP's are alike.
Normally a full IEP is held at the beginning of the school year. This meeting should include all persons involved in providing educational and direct personal care services to your child. This will allow you to set goals, provide for daily care, and begin the education process. It may become necessary as the school year progresses for a parent to call a modified (or smaller) IEP meeting to address specific issues or problems that may need to be addressed. This can happen as often as is needed to resolve any difficulties. A parent should not hesitate in calling one if they feel there is a need.
As each item is addressed and a goal is set, it should be with the full agreement of all individuals involved with that goal. Do not set a goal if there are any unresolved issues regarding that goal. Goals under question may be set with the understanding that the goal will be reviewed early and will be watched for appropriateness. A goal can be discontinued at any time after appropriate review during a modified IEP with all parties being notified.
The parent needs to understand that if there are any questions or disagreements they may have regarding the IEP, they should NOT sign it. Every attempt should be made to resolve any issues before leaving the meeting. If this cannot be accomplished, an immediate request for mediation (see IDEA act section 300.506) should be made. Pull any disputed items out of the main document before signing. Disputed goals should be set aside until mediation can be accomplished. These can be added back in once a resolution has been reached and the goal is modified appropriately.
All items with mutual agreement in the document should be immediately implemented into the child's education program with the disputed goals being set aside until mediation can be accomplished. Again, this needs to be done on a case-by-case basis, as every situation is unique.
Do not let one disputed IEP line item interfere with the rest of your child's educational program!
The main goal is to educate your child in the best atmosphere possible. It is to everyone's benefit to get along.