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How Can I Get My Child's IEP Changed?

My child isn’t making progress under the current IEP. I asked that we convene an IEP meeting to revise the IEP. Because I signed the IEP earlier, I was told that I cannot ask that the IEP be changed now. Is this true?

Wrightslaw Answers

No! We don't expect a child to wear the same shoe for a full year. We know that children’s needs change as they grow. The IEP is not cast in stone, but is a dynamic document that should be revised when necessary.

You can request an IEP meeting at any time. You can ask that the IEP be changed at any time. The fact that you consented to the IEP does not mean you are stuck with it - or that it is appropriate for an entire year.

Here are a few problems that should trigger an IEP meeting to review and revise your child's IEP:

  • Any lack of expected progress toward the annual goals and in the general education curriculum
  • Information from any new evaluation or reevaluation
  • Information or concerns shared by the parent or teacher
  • Your child's anticipated needs
  • Other matters, issues, or concerns 

Put your request for a meeting to revise the IEP in writing. In the letter, describe your concerns and the reasons you are requesting the meeting.

Use the links to the IDEA statute and Commentary below to understand the process of reviewing and revising your child's IEP.

If you are a longtime subscriber to The Special Ed Advocate, you know we advise parents to learn about their rights and responsibilities. You know we also advise parents to use Tactics & Strategies when they make requests. Sometimes, this is more difficult! We will get to this in a minute. 

Learn IDEA Rights & Responsibilities 

What happens when the IEP team reviews and revises an IEP?

Don't rely on school people to tell you about the law. School personnel's knowledge of the law is often dependent on what they were told in an in-service training session or by "word of mouth." Few school staff read the law.

As the parent of a child with a disability, you need to know what the law actually says. You need to know how to find answers to your questions in the IDEA statute and regulations. 

Parents, teachers, and other special education service providers should have a copy of the IDEA statute, special education regulations, and Appendix A. You can download most of these documents from the Wrightslaw site. Here are the links:

For an overview of the IDEA statute, go to 

http://www.wrightslaw.com/idea/index.htm

Download and Read the Commentary!

The Commentary is an invaluable tool for parents who have read the IEP statute in Section 1414(d), the IEP Regulations at 34 CFR 300.320 - 200.328 and want to learn more. To learn more, read the part of the Commentary in the Federal Register between pages 46661 - 46688 related to the regulations. It is an adobe pdf fie.

http://www.wrightslaw.com/idea/comment/46661-46688.reg.320-328.ieps.pdf

You'll find answers to your questions in the Commentary.

Tactics & Strategies 

Your goal is to get the services your child needs. When you use tactics & strategies, it's more likely that you will succeed. 

T & S include knowing how to organize your child’s file, maintain a contact log, write effective follow-up letters, write a “Letter to the Stranger,” handle meetings – and how NOT to shoot yourself in the foot!

Here’s one thing to consider: In most of Pete's consultations, the questions being asked are not the most important questions that need to be answered.

Often, no one is asking the important questions! For example, a parent wants to force the school to provide modifications and/or accommodations when the real issue is that the child doesn’t know how to read, write, spell, or do arithmetic. 

From Emotions to Advocacy Teaches Tactics & Strategies

Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy 2nd EditionYou can learn about Tactics and Strategy by reading dozens of articles, letters and newsletters on the Wrightslaw site.

A more efficient strategy may be to order our book, From Emotions to Advocacy - The Special Education Survival Guide.

Learn more about Wrightslaw: From Emotions to Advocacy - The Special Education Survival Guide - read reviews, download the Table of Contents, Index and free chapters.

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All About IEPs Answers Your Frequently Asked Questions

You will find clear, concise answers to over 200 frequently asked questions about IEPs in our comprehensive, easy-to-read book Wrightslaw: All About IEPs. Learn what the law says about:

  • Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
    IEP Teams & Meetings
  • Parental Rights & Consent
  • Steps in Developing and Revising the IEP
  • Placement, Transition, Assistive Technology
  • Strategies to Resolve Disagreements

Read reviews, download the Table of Contents, Index and free chapters here.

Don't miss Chapter 11: Reviewing and Revising the IEP.

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