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Will the School Provide a Translator at an IEP Meeting If I Need One?

By Barbara Hubert, MSEd

Question: I don’t read or speak English well. I’m worried I won’t understand what’s being discussed at my child’s IEP meeting. Someone told me the school is required to provide a translator for me. Is that true?

Answer:

Yes, it’s true. Your observations and opinions are valuable and must be considered at the IEP meeting. That’s why schools must take steps to help parents understand the proceedings. This includes providing an interpreter for you at the IEP meeting if you need one.

It’s a good idea to let your child’s school know ahead of time so the staff can make arrangements to have an interpreter at the meeting. It helps to mention this as early as you can. Try to find out how much time the school generally needs to arrange for an interpreter. This will be useful to know when you’re scheduling other IEP meetings.

You may also want to ask that important documents be translated into your preferred language. This includes the evaluations, records and reports that are used to assess your child, as well as the IEP. Many schools will translate some or all of these documents for you. At the very least, all schools are required to explain the documents to you in your preferred language. If you don’t understand something, you have the right to ask for more information.

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