Individualized Education Plans (IEP) are tools used by educational professionals to help children with special needs. They are a roadmap laid out for teachers and parents to follow, offering advice on the best way to help these children reach their true potential. IEPs help these children that learn in a different way to still receive the best education possible. There are many times that IEP meetings need to be held, when an IEP is first assigned to a student, when the educators feel adjustments are needed to a student’s IEP and when the school feels an IEP is no longer necessary. The process of coming up with an acceptable IEP can be stressful and emotional and must be treated with the utmost professionalism. Parents and teachers are extremely emotionally attached to their students and may become distraught during these meetings. It is very important for them to be handled tactfully and follow proper protocol. The facility in which the meeting is to take place must be properly presented to the individuals involved and the entire environment must remain highly professional. The members involved in these meetings must be professional and respectful of one another at all times. The IEP process must include a specific list of people. It is mandatory for these people to be present or the IEP guidelines are not being met.
There are certain members that need to be present at every IEP meeting. Each person is involved because they can offer help from a specific perspective while keeping the best interests of the child in mind. According to the mandated rights laid out in The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), those that should be in attendance at the IEP meeting in the video are the following:
Mrs. Johnson. As Amy’s mother, she will have a better idea of Amy’s issues. Because she spends the most time with Amy she will know the strategies that may work best for Amy. She knows the girl’s area of strength, where she needs improvement. Mrs. Johnson will be able to advocate for her daughter on what strategies are working and which ones are not. As the parent, Mrs. Johnson must agree with every decision that is made on Amy’s behalf.
Mrs. Williams. As Amy’s third grade teacher, Mrs. Williams will be the expert on how Amy conducts herself in the classroom, as well as her educational proficiency in all subjects.
Mr. Smith. As Amy’s SPED teacher, he can offer his advice on what strategies may help enhance Amy’s educational performance in all subjects. These may include certain modifications to assignment instructions.
Miss Brown. As a behavior specialist, Miss Brown would be an asset to the meeting by offering advice and suggestions for helping Amy with her recent behavioral issues.
In addition to those that must be in attendance to IEP meetings, IDEA provides a list of those who are not mandatory for meetings. In this video those that are not considered to be mandatory are:
Amy Johnson. Even though the meeting is being held on Amy’s behalf, she should not be in attendance. By being part of the meeting, Amy may begin to feel bad about herself because of her struggles, that could potentially make her issues become more severe.
Mr. Hill. Even though Mr. Hill is the IEP facilitator, it is not necessary for him to attend these meetings. His work is in resolving disputes and mediating between the parents and the school district. An IEP facilitator is only called in when there are issues between the parents and the school if they can’t come to an agreement or are struggling to communicate with one another. In Amy’s case, there is nothing to resolve, her mother is more than happy to work with the school district to find the best way to help Amy.