At the end of an IEP meeting, you may be asked to sign a draft of the IEP. If you disagree with any part of the IEP, you don’t have to sign right away. Try these tips to make your case.
Review every page.
A busy IEP team leader might skip over some sections of the draft IEP. It’s important to look at every section to ensure that the information is correct. Even your contact information (mailing address, email address, and phone numbers) needs to be confirmed.
What to say: “Can we quickly review the sections you skipped? Since we only meet once a year, I want to make sure you have our most current information.”
Ask to take the IEP home to review it.
It’s your right to take it home to review it. The school may even mail you a copy of the proposed IEP soon after the meeting. Ask how many days you have to sign the IEP.
What to say: “I need time to review the IEP. I need to make sure I understand it and that it meets my child’s needs. What’s my deadline to sign it?”
Ask for another meeting to go over concerns.
You have the right to request an IEP team meeting at any time. If you have a good relationship with the IEP team, you can often work things out just by talking through your concerns.
What to say: “There are some points we still need to discuss. Since we don’t have time to do so today, I’d like us to meet again to resolve those issues before I sign the IEP. Can we schedule a meeting before we leave today?”
Sign only the parts of the IEP you agree with.
If you aren’t fully satisfied with the proposed IEP, explain which parts you agree with and which parts you dispute. Note what you disagree with in writing and ask for it to be included in the IEP. If you’re asked to sign in several places, ask what each is for.
What to say: “This IEP is off to a good start. Please implement everything except the parts I disagree with. I’d like the comments I wrote on the draft to become part of the IEP.”
Lean on the law.
Politely ask for proof. For example, if an IEP team member says school district policy won’t cover some services your child needs, don’t be afraid to ask why.
What to say: “Those services are important for my child. I’d like to see the section of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that supports your policy. If you don’t have it here, please send it to me at home. I can’t sign the IEP until we resolve this.”
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About the author
Kristin Stanberry is a writer and editor specializing in parenting, education, and consumer health/wellness.
Whitney Hollins is a special education teacher and adjunct instructor at Hunter College.