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How to Use a "Parent IEP Attachment"
by Judy Bonnell, Parent Advocate

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Until l recently, I had great difficulty getting school districts to take parent attachments seriously. Recently, I was told that the district could not attach the parent document to their child's IEP!

I turned to Prior Written Notice in the Procedural Safeguards section of the statute (Section 1415(b)(3), pages 108-109 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, pages 108-109; and in the special education regulations at CFR 300.503 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, pages 253-254).

Prior Written Notice clearly states that concerns and requests made by the parents must be accepted or rejected -- and that the IEP team must list the reasons for accepting or rejecting the parent's proposal.

I devised a simple form with these columns: Proposal, Accepted, Rejected, Reason Accepted or Rejected, Start Date, and Responsible Person.

If a parental request is accepted, we add a notation that states who is in charge of initiating the proposal and the start date.

The parent sees to it that the IEP team members state their reasons for accepting or rejecting each proposal.

After doing this in a few meetings, the district actually suggested using my form to keep track of proposals and their disposition. I was so proud of them! They are in compliance. Parents have definite answers to their requests, and reasons are provided for these decisions.

When the IEP team uses this form (even if it is an unofficial form designed by a parent), it eliminates concerns about inactivity - that someone will drop the ball, sidestep a request, or simply forget. The IEP team members know what issues have been resolved and what issues have not been decided and are still on the table. Issues that must be tabled for further investigation have the responsible person's name listed and the date for an answer.

Many parents don't realize what a powerful tool the Parent Attachment can be. If parents can use this simple system to make the IEP process work for their child, the IEP process may become a little more "parent friendly.""

Here is a sample of Judy's Prior Written Notice Form -- a great example of KISS!

IEP for _____________________________________________


Accepted Rejected
Start date
Responsible person

Download the Prior Written Notice Form as a pdf document.

As an advocate, Wrightslaw is the first one I refer parents to. I was delighted to see permission granted to reprint your articles so I may pass them on to parents who do not have access to the internet.

More Advocacy Tips from Judy Bonnell  

Judy's website, Special Needs and Special Gifts, includes many excellent articles and tips for parents and advocates.

Build on the Strengths
- Describes the importance of focusing on islands of competence; providing behavioral support; the need to test the child's knowledge, not the child's disability; finding strengths.

The Bumpy Road - Describes what happens when the parent-school partnership breaks down; offers suggestions to resolve differences and disputes.

Parents Rights. When your child is qualified for special education services and supports you are a member of the team that will make decisions about his Individualized Education Plan, or IEP.

Understanding Prior Written Notice. - Explains why prior written notice can be a parent's best friend at a meeting, fully documenting all recommendations, including the parent's recommendations.

Last revised: 03/21/13


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