If your child has an IEP, you and the rest of the IEP team meet at least once a year to review it. But there are times when you may need to meet more often than that.
You might want to request an IEP meeting if the IEP doesn’t seem to be working well, or to talk about a new evaluation. Or maybe your child has met an IEP goal and the team needs to set a new one.
Whatever your reason, as a member of the team, you have the right to request an IEP meeting at any time. Here’s how to do that.
1. Get in touch with your child’s case manager.
Your child’s case manager is listed on the current IEP. Contact that person by phone or by email and explain that you’re requesting an IEP team meeting. In the email, consider cc’ing any other team members who have information relevant to your request. This might be your child’s teacher, the principal, or an educational specialist.
2. Be specific about why you’re requesting the meeting.
Give as many details as you can about your request. For example, you can say things like, “I’m requesting we sit down to discuss whether my child needs a functional behavior assessment (FBA) in response to continuing teacher concerns about behavior.”
3. Write a letter.
Download a sample letter to use as a model to follow. Change it to reflect your specific reasons for requesting an IEP review meeting. Address the letter to your child’s case manager and cc the principal or special education administrative office as well.
4. Make sure the letter gets there.
Hand-deliver your letter, fax it, or send it certified mail, so you get a tracking number for proof of delivery. If you hand-deliver the letter, ask for a date-stamped, signed copy for your records. If you fax or mail it, you may want to follow up by phone to make sure the intended recipient received it.
5. Know your state’s timeline.
Check your state’s Department of Education website or get help from your Parent Training and Information Center to find out how quickly an IEP meeting needs to be scheduled. It often takes schools a couple weeks to get a meeting together, because of everyone’s schedules and various commitments.
In some states, the school has to hold a meeting within 30 days of your request. In urgent situations, this timeline may be shorter. But it’s important to know how much time is allowed.
6. Follow up.
If you haven’t heard within a few days after you reach out to set up a meeting, check in with your child’s case manager. You can do this by phone. But it’s a good idea to send an email confirming that you’re trying to meet as soon as possible. You can copy the school administrator or call directly if the situation is very urgent and involves safety concerns.
Learn more about navigating IEP meetings. Get tips for staying on top of your child’s IEP. And read other families’ stories about their IEP meeting experiences.
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About the author
Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days.
Bob Cunningham, EdM serves as executive director of learning development at Understood.