By Kristin Stanberry
After an IEP meeting, you need to take care of some details. These can vary from one meeting to the next. Here are five important things to do after an IEP meeting.
After the IEP meeting, write an email or letter to the case manager summarizing what decisions and questions came out of the meeting. Did the school agree to set up another meeting? Do you plan to request a mediation session? By putting that in writing, you make sure everyone is on the same page and get those next steps on their calendars.
Review and sign the final IEP. The IEP you and your child’s IEP team discuss and develop in the meeting is a draft. The school or district will finalize the IEP after the meeting and will send you a copy to sign. Make sure you sign it and return it by the deadline they give you. (Be sure to keep a copy for yourself.) To be on the safe side, refer to our checklist of things to double-check before signing an IEP.
Send a simple but sincere thank-you note to anyone who attended the meeting with you. Let them know specifically how they made a difference. If this person is a professional who works with your child—and there is follow-up work to do—try to make it convenient. For example, you might offer to stop by their office to pick up records or reports the school has requested.
If your child didn’t attend the IEP meeting, share how it went. Be sure to mention the positive things people said along with the challenges. Consider your child’s age and maturity as you explain any changes. Describe new supports and services in concrete terms. If your child joined you at the meeting, ask about how she’s feeling. Praise her for things done well. Start planting the seeds of self-advocacy.
Organize all of the documents that result from the IEP meeting, including a copy of the new IEP. Note any important dates, such as when progress reports are sent out, on your calendar. Place the new IEP, as well as the notes and documentation you took to the meeting, in your files. This is also a good time to reorganize your filing system to make it easier to use in the future.
Preparation is the key to being an effective, confident advocate at your child’s IEP meetings. Here are five important things to do before an IEP meeting.
Emotions can run high at IEP meetings. But it’s important to focus on the end goal: helping your child. Here are 10 stay-calm phrases you can use to redirect conversation and defuse tense situations.
Kristin Stanberry is a writer and editor specializing in parenting, education and consumer health/wellness.
Virginia Gryta, M.S., teaches and mentors students working toward master’s degrees and certification in special education at Hunter College.
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