By Aubrey Schieuer
Whether you’re a special education teacher, a school occupational therapist, a school psychologist, or a speech language pathologist, you need to know about running IEP meetings. These meetings involve a lot of stakeholders and can run high with emotion. And, you’re required to have an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting for each student in your care at least once every school year. Here are some tips to help you have a successful IEP meeting every time!
There are different kinds of IEP meetings, so don’t assume that the parents will know which one you’re meeting for. Feel free to give the parents a call a week before and let the parents know what you’ll be covering in the meeting so they have time to prepare questions. Send a reminder home with your student the night before so the parents will be sure to attend.
Don’t just bring the IEP report to the meeting. Parents and your fellow therapists can ask questions on past scores or performance, and you’ll want to have that information accessible when you need it most! Bring the student’s files, any recent evaluations or activities, and anything else that might be called upon for past examples to the meeting.
In the meeting, it’s helpful to pull out the previous IEP and get everyone on the same page again. Talk through each goal and how much progress has been made. Explain reasons for why the child reached their goals or had a harder time, and how that influenced your recommendations for the latest IEP.
It can be disheartening to hear about all the struggles a student is facing in school. Be sure to share some of their strengths with their parents, as well. Share praise about a certain time when they rose to a challenge, or brag about how they’ve shown remarkable patience. By including some positive experiences that the student has had, everyone will leave the meeting feeling encouraged and optimistic about the future.
An IEP meeting can feel overwhelming for any parent. Don’t pressure them to sign off on the IEP if they’re not ready. Let them go home, review the papers, and sleep on it. This is their child’s future development, so parents won’t take it lightly.
There you have it! If you’re an SLP, OT, school psychologist, or special education teacher, PPR has incredible opportunities waiting for you. Click here to see our latest job openings across the country!