Can Our Advocate Observe My Son in Class?

Can our advocate observe my son in the classroom? The school denied my request and said, “only the parent can observe.” Members of the IEP Team The parents and school decide who they want to be on the IEP team, aside from the required members. IDEA allows you to invite individuals who have knowledge or special expertise about your child to be part of the IEP team meeting. You decide who meets these criteria. You …Read more

Does the Team Write Goals for Parents in the IEP?

The school listed this goal/objective in my son’s IEP. “Objective: The parent will direct all communication to the Principal. Parent is not allowed to call or talk to the special education teacher, other teachers, or teacher’s aide.” Can this be listed as a “goal” in the IEP? That isn’t an IEP “objective!” Goals and objectives are for what the student will achieve, not what the parent will or will not do! Instructional goals state: what …Read more

Can an Outside Professional Be Part of the IEP Team?

The school said, “I am not sure if you are aware, outside professionals are not considered a part of the IEP team. Your doctor really cannot participate. Parents use professionals to bounce ideas off of, however, the school will set up services based on the IEP we write.” Check the federal statute and federal regulation.  Then check your state regulations. Federal regulations track the federal statute. State regulations generally track the federal regulations. You should …Read more

We Need a Transition Plan with “Hands-On” Experience

It’s now second semester of my son’s junior year and no attention has ever been paid to a Transition plan. The school has no vocational training, internships, or apprentice programs for any student. My son needs hands-on experience in his current school program. Shouldn’t the school provide these services? Transition planning is an IEP team responsibility. As a parent, you should attend IEP meetings as an active team member. As a parent, you play an …Read more

Effective IEP Teams: Reality or Impossible Dream?

When parents build an effective team with the school, what does it look like? What happens at IEP meetings when staff and parents come together to develop an effective plan for a child with disabilities? It is basically the same set of people.  What is different about an effective team? 1.   Parents will get more information before the meeting.  Staff will both share their observations of your child and seek input from parents.  The school …Read more

Tongued Tied at IEP Meetings

Do you get tongue tied at IEP meetings, not knowing what to say at times? Here are some answers to questions and comments that have worked for me that I would like to share with you. 1.   “We don’t have to write that down. We automatically do that for our students”. What do you say to this comment when you want something written in the IEP and the school throws this at you?

IEP Team Members: Should We Replace the General Ed Teacher?

My son is 11, his academic skills are at the 4-yr old level. He gets one hour a week of APE, but we do not have the APE teacher on his IEP team. A general classroom teacher is part of the team, but my son does not receive inclusion services. Is it advisable to replace the general classroom teacher with the APE teacher who actually has contact with him during the school week? Does such a decision …Read more

I Get All Kinds of Special Ed Questions from my Patients…

As a pediatrician, I get all kinds of questions from my patients.  Can you help me answer these two special education questions? 1.  A teacher in a school system wants to sit in on the IEP meetings as the student (family’s) advocate (not as a county employee). Can the school system refuse, saying it is a conflict of interest? There is a legal answer and a practical answer…

Do Parents Have to Excuse Members of the IEP Team?

The bottom line is no.  If you do not agree, a required member of the IEP team may not be excused. If the school asks you to consent to excuse a member and you don’t agree, write a short polite letter to explain that you don’t consent because the individual has valuable information and insights to share with the team. Do you know the required members of the IEP team? Submit your answer below – …Read more

Can School Attorneys Legally Attend IEP Meetings? – Jeff Responds

In November, I offered to research an issue and write a legal memorandum about whether an attorney for the school can legally attend an IEP team meeting.   Thank you to all who posted comments on my article Can School Attorneys Legally Attend IEP Meetings? I am finally out of finals and through the holidays and I wanted to respond to your comments.  Sorry for the delay. “These attorneys actively misrepresent laws and safeguards.” David, have …Read more