Your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) has been set in motion. To make sure it’s meeting your child’s needs, you’ll have to keep track of what’s happening. How well is the IEP working? Is the school providing all the services and supports laid out in the plan?
Try these tips to monitor the situation throughout the year.
1. Check in with the teacher.
The parent-teacher conference is a good time to take the pulse of your child’s progress. But you can also check in regularly to make sure your child’s IEP is being followed. Share any concerns based on what you’re seeing at home. When kids spend most of their time in the general education classroom, the teacher knows how often they’re pulled out of class to work with special educators as promised in the IEP.
2. Contact the team leader if the IEP isn’t being honored.
If you think the school isn’t delivering all of the services and supports in your child’s IEP, be sure to speak up. You can contact the IEP team leader, and work together to get your child the necessary support. That person can clear up any misunderstandings and correct any problems. Follow up to make sure those corrections happen.
3. If things don’t improve, request a special IEP team meeting.
If you take the steps above but aren’t satisfied with the results, you can request a special IEP meeting. You don’t have to wait until next year’s IEP meeting to iron out any problems. Getting the entire team together may be the only way to get your child’s IEP back on track as soon as possible.
4. Know your child’s special educators and their schedules.
The IEP should state what services your child will receive and for how many hours per week. You can ask the IEP team leader for the names of the special educators assigned to help your child. Find out what services they’ll provide and on which days. That way you can ask your child, “Did you spend time with Mrs. Smith today? What did you do with her?”
5. Read the progress reports.
Your child’s IEP includes measurable annual goals. It should also explain how progress toward those goals will be measured and when this will be reported to you. Many schools send IEP progress reports to parents when report cards are issued. Find out when you can expect progress reports and mark the dates on your calendar. Carve out time to compare the IEP with how well your child is progressing.
6. Watch, listen, and read between the lines.
Keep an eye on your child’s homework and classroom test scores. Is the teacher adjusting assignments as noted in the IEP? If so, is your child making progress? Ask your child about accommodations, whether it’s extra time on tests or . Talk in a way that suits your child’s age and personality. Listen carefully to what your child says — or doesn’t say — about school and learning. Jot down your concerns.
To help stay on top of your child’s IEP, try an IEP goal tracker. And download an IEP binder checklist to make sure you have everything you need before you meet with the IEP team.
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About the author
About the author
Kristin Stanberry is a writer and editor specializing in parenting, education, and consumer health/wellness.
Virginia Gryta, MS teaches and mentors students working toward master’s degrees and certification in special education at Hunter College.