Sample Letter to Request an IEP Meeting

When a student has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), their IEP team is required to meet and review the program at least every year. The annual review date is listed on the cover page of the IEP document. Family caregivers can request additional meetings, and this article includes a sample letter families can use to Read More

Steps to Read, Understand, and Develop an Initial IEP

A Brief Overview A first-time IEP document is a lot to absorb. This article provides tips to help family members read through a draft IEP and prepare to participate on the IEP team that finalizes the Individualized Education Program before services begin. Remember, the school’s first version is a DRAFT, and family members of the Read More

Sample Letter to Request Evaluation

A Brief Overview Washington State requires special education referrals to be in writing (WAC 392-172A-03005). Anyone with knowledge of a student can write a referral. The state provides a form for making a special education referral, downloadable from a website page titled, Making a Referral for Special Education. The form is not required—any written request Read More

Sample Letter to Request a Functional Behavioral Assessment

When a student’s behavior gets in the way of their learning and/or the learning of others, the school is responsible to figure out how to support behavioral expectations. One way to do that is to assess why the student might be acting out and use that information to consider how positive behavioral interventions might teach Read More

Tips for Communicating as a Member of the IEP Team

A Brief Overview When families and schools meet to discuss a student’s special education program, they can find Common Ground by remembering that everyone wants the student to receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). Two short videos, A Tale of Two Conversations, provide a quick look at how a meeting might feel like one Read More

Quick Look: How to Prepare for a Virtual Meeting

Schools and families continue to meet virtually to discuss special education services during the closures related to the coronavirus pandemic. Here are tips to help family members prepare for remote meetings to discuss a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), a Section 504 Plan, evaluation for special education services or something else related to a special Read More

Get SMART About Tracking Progress and Updating Goals with Your IEP Team

Holiday break is a good time to check on your student’s progress in school. You can take another look at the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and compare the goals to current progress. If you don’t have a current progress reports on IEP goals, mid-year is a good time to ask school staff to provide them. Read More

Get Ready for School with IEP Essentials

A Brief Overview Each student has abilities and skills. A thoughtful Individualized Education Program (IEP) can highlight abilities and provides the supports needed for the student to learn. This article will help parents understand how to participate in the IEP process. Every part of the IEP is measured against this question: How does this help Read More

A Supreme Court Ruling Could Impact Your Child’s IEP

A Brief Overview The parents of a child named Endrew F argued that their son with a disability deserved more from his public school. They appealed their case all the way to the Supreme Court, and the ruling in their favor could mean more robust rights for all children with Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). The Read More

Q&A – IEP vs 504

You Asked, We Answered! Question One: My son was evaluated by my district and they determined that he was not eligible for an IEP but recommended a 504 plan. I asked for a copy of the Evaluation Report at the meeting and was told they would get it to me as soon as it was finalized. That was Read More

How do I prepare for my IEP meeting?

A Parent Checklist: You will receive a Prior Written Notice from your child’s school with the meeting date and time, as well as a list of attendees. This information should not change without receiving another prior written notice. Read your notice to see what issues will be discussed and that there is enough allotted time. Read More

We’re Glad You Asked! A Question About IEP

Question One: My son’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is due the beginning of this school year.  I always go into this meeting feeling as if I have to sign and agree before I leave. Sometimes the School District will mark “DRAFT” on the front page of the IEP but nothing seems to change even though Read More

Surrogate Parents Support Unaccompanied Students in Special Education

A Brief Overview Full Article If a student eligible for special education services does not have a family caregiver, adoptive parent, or other legal guardian fulfilling the role of parent, then a surrogate parent is assigned to ensure the student’s rights are protected. The surrogate parent fulfills the family caregiver role on a student’s Individualized Read More

Advocacy Tips for Parents

When a child has a disability, parents often learn that getting their child’s needs met requires persistence, organization, and advocacy. Advocacy is an action. A person is an advocate when they organize the work and press onward until a goal is achieved. Laws that protect the rights of students with disabilities also protect parents as Read More