10 Things Special Needs Parents Don't Need To Hear During An IEP Meeting

- 10 THINGS SPECIAL NEEDS PARENTS DON'T NEED TO HEAR DURING AN IEP MEETING 


1)."Your child is too smart to have an IEP" 
Intelligence has no bearing on disability or need. Even individuals with genius level IQs can have a disability that affects their ability to access the curriculum.


2). “This is what we do for every student.” ;(
You’re probably thinking you have seen students like this, with this same diagnosis, and this is what works. While your heart may be in the right place in wanting to find something that works, your words have it all wrong. Remember, state and federal laws require the IEP be “individualized.”

When you say to parents “We do it for every student,” you revert back to a cookie cutter IEP. Quite simply, the school system’s mandate is to consider the student’s individual and unique abilities in drafting an IEP and failure to do so may result in the denial of a free, appropriate public education.

Instead, say what you really mean — “We have tried this approach before with other students who have had similar abilities and have been very successful. This is why we think it is appropriate for your child.”


3)."Your child’s emotional disturbance is interfering with her academic performance so she doesn’t qualify for an IEP." :((

There are 13 disability categories under IDEA. In order to qualify for an IEP you must meet the definition of one of the 13 categories and by reason thereof NEED special education and related services. One of the 13 disability categories is emotional disturbance and if that disability is interfering with the child’s ability to access the curriculum then by definition she has a need for an IEP.

4). “Let’s wait and talk about that some other time.”
What you really mean is you have been in the meeting for hours and have more that you have to get to! Patience, my friend. Although this may be your third IEP meeting of the day, it is the one and only meeting — and certainly the most important — for the parents sitting with you.

If you find yourself replowing the same ground again and again, instead of putting it off for another day, take a soda break or, better yet, try putting the issue aside for later in the meeting and returning to it at the end of the meeting. Remember, timelines for eligibility and developing the IEP must be scrupulously followed and the failure to do so may result in a finding adverse to a school system. Consequences for violating the timelines could include compensatory education, if you’re lucky, or residential placement if you are not.

5)."This is a Charter School we don’t do IEP’s here." ;;(

All public schools are required, by law, to provide children with a disability a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Since magnet schools are public schools they are required to execute IEP’s for those children that require special education. This would also go for advanced study schools and charter schools.



6). “They may do that in Perfect School District, but we don’t do that here!”
While it can be extremely frustrating to have a bygone IEP held up as the perfect IEP, take a deep breath and remind yourself that each state and each year is different. Remember that your state may not require the IEP to be a Cadillac, just a serviceable Chevrolet. Your obligation is to develop an IEP that meets the individual needs of the child, not parrot what has been done in the past.

Take the time to explain to the parents the differences in your state’s regulations and those with which they may be familiar. In addition, explain that the IEP process must be followed each year and that while you cannot just rely on past IEPs, neither can the parents. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how that simple explanation will often make a big difference in their understanding.



7). “We can’t afford that piece of equipment.” 
What you really mean is that you can’t afford that piece of equipment. Unfortunately, there is no escaping the bright line rule handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court that prohibits a school district from considering cost as a factor in determining whether a piece of equipment needs to be provided to a child with disabilities. Rely on the cost of an item to exclude it from the IEP and you will surely spend a few days with an independent hearing officer in a due process hearing.

Instead of asking the cost, ask whether the piece of equipment is necessary as a related service? Does it need to be used in all environments, such as the home, or is it something that stays at school? If you find you do need to list a piece of equipment on the IEP, be careful how you list it. If you list the brand name, that is what you need to supply, even if that brand is no longer manufactured or is obsolete.



. “We never provide one-on-one aides for students.”
Although this may have been drilled into your head at numerous training sessions, this should not be part of your IEP meeting lexicon. Instead, ask what the parent is really asking for. If it is constant adult supervision, then say so. If it is someone to provide individual instruction to the student, then consider a change in placement or pull-out services. Throw out the negatives and start telling the parents what you do provide and how you can address the educational needs of their child.



9)."Maybe your daughter’s behavior issues are being caused by you telling her she has autism and she is emulating how she thinks someone with autism should act. I suggest not talking with her so much about her autism." ;(

Wow, I’m still amazed at this one and I’m not sure where to start. Let’s focus on the fact that they are blaming the parent for the child’s behavior in school. If the School really believes the IEP isn’t working because of the parent they are required to provide training to the parent via the related service, parent training and counseling. In my opinion, the School needs the training not the parent but let’s move on.


10)."We can’t test your child for an IEP until we have first tried Response to Intervention.'' :^[

This ridiculous statement was used by so many School Districts that on January 21, 2011 the United States Department of Education Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services issued a memo reminding School Districts that Response to Intervention cannot be used to delay-deny an evaluation for eligibility under IDEA.


ASK MY ADVOCATE ASSIST STUDENTS GETTING ELIGIBILITY FOR SPECIAL EDUCATION UNDER ANY QUALIFYING DISABILITY; PUTTING TOGETHER AN IEP OR 504 PLAN THAT MEETS THE STUDENTS UNIQUE NEEDS AND TO ENSURE IT IS BEING IMPLEMENTED. EXERCING RIGHT TO ACCESS A FREE APPROPRIATE EDUCATION WHEN SCHOOL DISTRICTS DOES NOT COMPLY WITH STATE AND FEDERAL LAWS.
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