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IEP FAQs: Can I write on the IEP?

by Wrightslaw

My daughter attended her first IEP meeting today, it was a disaster. Does she have the right to write on the IEP under parental concerns? She wanted to write a statement about her daughter being dyslexic and they wouldn’t let her?

There is no legal or commonsense reason why a parent or any other IEP team member cannot write on a child’s IEP.

Some uninformed educators go crazy when a parent does this, saying that “the IEP is a legal document.” People write on legal documents all the time – to amend, change terms, to provide additional information.

If this has happened to you, take advantage of it!

This provides a good opportunity to tell your child’s story in more depth and begin to build a paper trail. If the school continues to be oppositional, letters and notes from meetings, made at the time, are invaluable in resolving the problem.

Write a polite letter to the head of the IEP team describing in factual terms (no emotions, nothing about how you “feel”) that you attempted to inform the IEP team your child has dyslexia. Explain that when you attempted to add this information to your child’s IEP, [name of school personnel] refused to allow you to provide that information.

Explain that the school will not be able to teach your child to read, write, or spell unless they know she is dyslexic and she requires specialized instruction, delivered by a teacher who is trained to use an educational method that is proven to work with children who have dyslexia.

This is probably only the first of many letters you will need to write over the years. Before you begin, read the “Letter to the Stranger” for the big picture. This tells the story of a parent who wrote an angry letter and the impact it had. After the parent revised the letter to tell her child’s story, the new letter had a completely different impact.

This article has practical advice about how to do this:

Also read this success story by a mom who was in a similar situation, how she handled it, and finally got the services her children needed:

and one more:

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10 Comments on "IEP FAQs: Can I write on the IEP?"

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03/07/2014 4:32 pm

Can someone who doesn’t have a credential write an IEP and run a meeting.

10/08/2013 5:20 pm

The IEP meeting is for developing an IEP, not just reading the IEP that was written. It is not a legal document until all members of the team agree on it. The Parent Concerns part is 100% fir the parent to write in/make comments for… meaning that was the perfect place for they parent to write.

Sharon L.
03/31/2012 10:24 am

Amanda You can always choose to get an outside professional evaluation in these areas at the school’s expense to get another professional opinion. THis can help make a decision. I have been working with schools for over 25 years as a parent advocating for my learning disabled children. I have found that if a school offers services it may be in your child’s best interest. I have found more often than not that the school’s try to avoid giving services to save money unless a parent insists on it, provides evidence, etc. You can always… Read more »

03/29/2012 11:36 am

My son was recommended for OT ST and an SETI. We felt that was wrong he didn’t really need OT as much as they were saying but we were told by the CPSE chair woman that we were not allowed to pick and choose if we wanted him to have Speech than he had to have everything that was recommended. Is that true?

05/19/2011 9:11 pm

Kit b – In OHIO the parents still must sign the Iep if they agree or the section that states they do not agree whether it is an initial IEP or an annual review.

Kit b
05/16/2011 5:08 pm

I was told as of January 2011..parents do not sign IEP’ this true? The copy of the last IEP that was done on my child last month shows NO advancement in levels since 2008 which I know for a fact she has changed..they are saying it is because of the standardized test do I get my input on the IEP about our disagreement of levels?

09/09/2009 8:48 pm


Can anyone answer my question??? I teach at a school where we have hired 4 new teachers for the special education department. Two are long term substitutes without any special education training. The district folks are telling us that they can carry caseloads and write IEP’s for students. Is that legal? Also, we have been told that RSP teachers can only have 28 students on their case load but SDC teachers have no limit. Is this a federal or state guideline? Where can I find this guideline?

Please Help,


04/30/2009 3:46 pm

The school district has a right to hire whoever they want. However, you have the right to WRITE ON THE IEP and to delineate which parts of it you agree to and which parts you don’t agree to.

If the team gangs up against what you know to be appropriate for your child (as proved by your expert assessments which you have given them a copy of), you most definite should NOT SIGN THE IEP, but instead agree to LET THE EDUCATIONAL Piece go forward and explain which parts of the IEP you agree to.

08/12/2008 10:02 am

Yes! You can write on the IEP team notes. Remember that the IEP is created by a “TEAM” which includes the parents. If one team member can write on it then everyone can.

I was told during our son’s IEP meeting to “Put the pen down. If you need an extra piece of paper to write on we’ll give you one but we feel it’s rude for more than one person to write on the notes page.” I of course continued writing because I am part of the team and the women taking the notes seemed… Read more »

07/29/2008 6:28 am

Write on the IEP? Absolutely! Just because it IS a legal document makes the IEP a good “forum” for relating important information. I do it all the time.

These notes that you make are on a dated document and usually are made in the presence of the IEP team. Here is an example of how this helped me.

At an IEP meeting, a member of the team once stated that a child would probably never learn to read. I asked the member to repeat what he had said. I wrote it down verbatim. … Read more »