What Is Your Role In An IEP Meeting?

It takes a team of caring and compassionate individuals to develop an IEP that meets the academic, social, emotional, and functional needs of a student.  Each team member has the opportunity to bring a unique set of thoughts to the table. 

Student

The student is the only member of the team who knows exactly what he/she experiences at every point of the school day.  It is important to remember that our perception of the their daily social, emotional, and educational journey is not always in line with the with how the student processes everyday experiences.  Students are able to add valuable input during each and every IEP meeting by being open and honest regarding the help that they both want and need from those in the school environment.

Once the student reaches secondary transition age, their input becomes even more valuable.  At this point, the student should be vocalizing their goals for the future. The more clearly the student is able to articulate his/her goals, the better direction the rest to the team has to help them reach their destination.

Parents

Parents know their children better than anyone in the world, so the input that parents provide can be invaluable to an IEP team.  While the educators at the meeting spend time with the student in school each day, the student might be more comfortable sharing his/her feelings about school when at home with their families.  This knowledge can be very helpful to the team when developing a student’s IEP. Additionally, parents can share valuable information about the social life, health history, and study habits of their student for consideration at the IEP meeting.

Case Manager/Special Education Teacher

Case managers are responsible for developing the student’s IEP in a way that helps the student access their education to the fullest extent possible.  One of the major responsibilities of a case manager is to ensure that IEP goals are properly written and progress toward those goals is accurately measured.  Another important duty is to design accommodations and modifications to help the student be successful in all school settings. It is also necessary for case managers to have knowledge of courses and services available at the school in order to properly place a student with an IEP.

General Education Teacher

General education teachers can play a vital role in ensuring that the IEP team makes every effort to educate students in the least restrictive environment.  They have knowledge of both the curriculum and rigor of the courses that they teach, which will allow the team to determine what accommodations and/or modifications should be put in place to allow the student to properly participate in the general education curriculum.  If the general education teacher in attendance currently has the student in class, the teacher would be expected to discuss any observations or grades that are pertinent to IEP development. The teacher could also discuss any additional help that they offer, such as before school tutoring, that the student can utilize to help them be more successful.  

School Administrator/LEA Representative

Because school administrators have the ability to allocate resources to appropriately educate students, administrators have authority that can positively impact the education of a student who requires special considerations.  Not only do administrators have knowledge of all of the resources currently available, but they would also have the authority to approve any additional components that may be necessary to help the student be successful. Additionally, a school administrator has the ability to organize and provide teacher training to improve staff knowledge of how to best help students with specific needs.

Related Service Providers

Related service providers who help a student in an area of expertise should share their knowledge regarding what specifically they are working on with the student.  Information shared should also include the progress the student is making toward their IEP goal in this area. If the student needs any accommodations related to a service provider’s area to be successful, the IEP should be developed with that in mind.   

With thoughtful input and diligence, IEPs can be developed to meet all of the needs of each student.  All team members providing quality input can help make IEP meetings a success!

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