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Use Appendix A as a Tool

Note From Wrightslaw: Appendix A was an Appendix for the 1999 U.S. Department of Education Regulations issued pursuant to IDEA 97. This Appendix was not reissued with the 2006 regulations, however it does provide guidance and many of the concepts remain valid.

Appendix A is a great tool for parents and educators. Appendix A includes 40 questions and answers about IEPs, IEP teams and meetings, parent rights, transition, and other topics.

Appendix A is a "must read" for parents and educators who attend IEP meetings. Read Appendix A two or three times. Use a highlighter. Make margin notes. You will soon become an expert about special education law!

Parent Are Equal Partners

When Congress amended the IDEA, they strengthened the role of parents.

"The parents . . . are expected to be equal participants along with school personnel" in developing, reviewing, and revising the IEP for their child. This is an active role . . . " (Appendix A, Question 5)

The school must advise parents about who will attend the IEP meeting. (Appendix A, Question 7)

Parents have a right to a copy of their child's IEP. (Appendix A, Question 8)

What happens if parents and school disagree about some portion of the child's IEP?

"The IEP meeting serves as a communication vehicle between parents and school personnel, and enables them, as equal participants, to make joint, informed decisions" about the child's needs and appropriate goals, the extent to which the child will be involved in the general curriculum and participate in regular education, and partcipate in State and district assessments, and the services the child will receive. (Appendix A, Question 9)

IEP Goals and Objectives

IEP goals must relate to the child's disability - and they must be measurable. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 1997 requires "measurable annual goals, including benchmarks or short term objectives."

To help parents and educators monitor the child's progress during the year, IEPs must include measurable intermediate steps (short-term objectives) or major milestones (benchmarks). (Appendix A, Question 1)

The school must advise parents about the child's progress on a regular basis. (Appendix A, Question 10)

IEP Meetings

Feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the number of school staff at the IEP meeting? Take heart. The law says the IEP team may include "individuals who have knowledge or special expertise about the child." (Appendix A, Question 28)

Revising IEPs

Do you have concerns that your child is not making adequate progress? The IEP team is required to convene a meeting and revise the IEP to address your concerns about "Any lack of expected progress toward the annual goals and in the general curriculum." The school should revise the IEP when there is new information about the child - from new testing or from the child's parents or teachers. (Appendix A, Question 20) Sometimes more than one meeting is necessary to finalize a child's IEP. (Appendix A, Question 23))

Note: The citations in this article are from Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, published by Harbor House Law Press  in 1999

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