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 I have asked for additions and made suggestions.  The team always says they will add the changes later but that never seems to happen.  I want to be considered a team member, but I am beginning to feel ignored.  What can I do?

Answer One:

DRAFT IEPs are not required by law. However, it is encouraged in order to give parents an opportunity to review any recommendations the team may have. I suggest that you request in writing a DRAFT version of the IEP prior to the meeting.  This will give you time to review the content, make notes, and be prepared. It is not permissible to have a final IEP presented to you at the meeting.  If the team is unwilling to include your suggestion you certainly have options.  Since this is not your child’s first IEP you don’t have to sign it.  I encourage you to continue to work with your team.  It may take several meetings but it is well worth the time and effort.  I wish you good luck.

Question Two:

I am the parent of a 10 year old on the Autism Spectrum.  Last year my son was not allowed to go on the 4th grade field trip because I could not go with him. Other parents were not required to go.  His IEP stated that he was able to participate in field trips and other extracurricular activities.  I really want to make sure this does not happen again. He was devastated. What can I do?

Answer Two:

I am sorry he was not able to go.  I agree that you need to address this before missing other opportunities.  I would plan ahead and ask his new teacher if there will be any field trips or other activities for the coming school year where extra support may be needed.  Make sure the teacher has a copy of his IEP, and underline the section concerning extracurricular activities. Explain that if he needs to have someone accompany him, the school will have to provide that assistance so he is able to participate.  I would also put it in writing to the principal and special education director.  If you need to ask for an IEP meeting to address this issue, make sure you do so.