Can an Outside Professional Be Part of the IEP Team?

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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 check all three.

Federal Statute IDEA 2004

Turn to your Special Education law book.   On page 101, the middle of the page, look at (B), the definition of the IEP Team, which includes:

(vi) at the discretion of the parent or the agency, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel as appropriate; and . . .

The legal citation to the above reference in IDEA 2004 is 20 USC Section 1414(d)(1)(b)(vi).

Federal Special Education Regulations 34 CFR 300

Now turn to the bottom of page 246, top of page 247.  Start at 34 CFR 300.321.

You will find the federal special education regulations relating to the make up of the IEP Team.

Then look as subsection 6, which states the same as the United States Code.

Your State Special Education Regulations

You’ll find a copy of your state regulations on your state Department of Education website. Use the Yellow Pages for Kids directory.

Wrightslaw is in Virginia. As an example, according to Virginia’s special education regulations (p.63), here’s the definition of the IEP Team:

C. IEP Team
1. General. The local educational agency shall ensure that the IEP team for each child with a disability includes: (34 CFR 300.321(a), (c) and (d))
f. At the discretion of the parent(s) or local educational agency, other individuals who have knowledge or special expertise regarding the child, including related services personnel, as appropriate. The determination of knowledge or special expertise of any individual shall be made by the party (parent(s) or local educational agency) who invited the individual to be a member of the team; and . . .

Virginia Administrative Code cite: 8 VAC 20-81-110(C)(1)(f). Individualized education program.

Question: “As a parent, can I invite other people to the IEP meeting?”

Chapter 2 in Wrightslaw: All About IEPs is about IEP Teams and IEP Team Meetings. You’ll find the answer to this question.

Answer: You and the school can invite people who have special knowledge and expertise about your child to IEP meetings.

This might include professionals, related service providers, consultants, a friend, family member, minister, priest, or rabbi.

Do you have more questions about IEPs?  You’ll find the answers to over 200 IEP FAQs here.

  1. After you have your facts down, don’t go into the school ready to shove the books under their noses and show them how very wrong they are. We agree, they are wrong, but the “Aha! I caught you!” attitude will not be a help in the long run. (Trust me, I know from experience!) You might write a note, asking for the state regulation that backs up their position. You might ask for help understanding their comment, as it seems to contradict this information you found about the Federal laws. Try to keep things in writing, as then you have documentation if you have to go to state officials, or to due process at any point. You will frequently find that a letter asking for clarification and citing your difficulty merging what they said and what you have read gets you a letter saying you must have misunderstood. Invite whom you want.

  2. Great article. It’s so important for parents to know their rights. The National Autism Network, http://www.nationalautismnetwork, which is the largest online resource for the autism community has many resources available for your review. Join the network for free and be a part of the fastest growing autism community.

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