IEP FAQs: Can an IEP Meeting be Postponed?

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Is there anything in the law that would prevent me from asking that my child’s annual IEP be postponed? The current accommodations are either not working or are not being implemented as required by certain teachers. I would like to postpone it to enable time to obtain testing results and re-work some ideas on accommodations.

The special ed case worker states that an IEP meeting cannot be postponed! That seems ridiculous.

The law says the IEP needs to be reviewed at least annually, and more often if necessary.

The IEP Team can convene, and agree to re-convene after receiving the new testing results. There is no limit to the number of IEP meetings that may be needed to create an IEP that meets your child’s needs.

A parent or teacher can request that the IEP team meet to review and revise the IEP when new information is available about the child (i.e. when new evaluations have been conducted).

The history of Public Law 94-142, now IDEA, states that “there should be as many meetings a year as a child may need.”

This is from Appendix A to the IDEA regulations. There is no limit to the number of IEP meetings that may be needed to create an IEP that meets the child’s needs.

  • Write a letter to the school.
  • Describe your concerns about your child’s lack of progress and your fears about his future.
  • Request a meeting to revise his IEP after reviewing evaluation results.

Be careful about delaying too long.

The sooner you develop an appropriate IEP that is meeting your child’s needs, the better. This may take more than one meeting. The law certainly allows this.

  1. Is there an amount of time that a school district has from the time a parent requests an additional IEP to the time they hold the IEP?

  2. At an initial IEP, the team agrees to a certain number of periods in the high school SDC class. Three days later the school calls to request to lessen the amount of time in SDC by one period. I never signed the IEP from the original meeting, must the school hold a brief IEP meeting to discuss the change in service minutes being recommended or can I just agree on the phone and then sign the IEP with the changes?

  3. If a teacher has concerns regarding my child and request a parent conference to include a principal, the teacher and my child’s case manager, does this meeting now become an IEP meeting because of those invited?

    • No, not unless the district sends you prior written notice that it is an IEP meeting, & the purpose of the meeting.

  4. i just received the documents on my daughter’s testing and the last time she was tested was 2017. So the new tests are dated 12/2020 and 2021. I reviewed her results. the IEP and additional modifications are not helping my daughter at all. Her scores and percentages are worse than before. She is in 6th grade and her reading level at the end of 5th grade was middle year third grade. She is now expected to read and comprehend 6th grade material.
    She has epilepsy and dyslexia. Her epilepsy is an added disability as well as the medications she has to take. Epilepsy has brain disconnects and medication makes it worse. In my opinion I feel she needs a specialist.
    I feel that the school has the best intentions for her, but it is clear to me that she needs more.

  5. Is it illegal to change the IEP meeting time (on the exact same day) from 12:50 to 12:00 if all team members are in agreement and it is done in a timely manner?

    • If all members are in agreement, I would think it should be fine to change. Just make sure there is documentation of the change and the agreement of all team members.

  6. I thank everyone at Wright’s Law for all the support to parents and students! We had an IEP meeting on Nov. 11, 2020 and we never received the DRAFT IEP until 1/5/2021 when I reached out to the case manager letting her know we had not yet received the DRAFT & to please send so we could review & finalize before our annual mtg to occur by Jan. 26. CM replied, “Here is the finalized IEP” By code we have 15 days to review. Furthermore, all changes we agreed upon except one, were not made. I never received any notes from virtual meeting & non were documented in IEP. Both school & I taped meeting and I took detailed notes. I would like to open up IEP to make changes BEFORE our annual mtg. Your suggestions?

    • Biondi, You can request an IEP meeting at any time. Since you had an IEP meeting on Nov 11 and you were not satisfied, mainly because your concerns weren’t addressed and agreed-upon changes weren’t in the IEP, you can request another meeting to amend that Draft IEP provided by the school.

  7. If a child is currently in his re-evaluation process, but his IEP is due prior to completion of the re-eval, can the IEP be postponed and completed after results from re-eval are finished?

    • I would also love the answer to Megan’s question. If a child is currently in his re-evaluation process, but his IEP is due prior to completion of the re-eval, can the IEP be postponed and completed after results from re-eval are finished?

      • Megan, Karen A state could have rules on this. I am not aware of any court rulings on this. A federal court of appeals did rule it was ok to go past the deadline in order to have the parent present. So it would seem like waiting for current testing would also be ok. But convincing a district of this could be difficult. IDEA 2004 developed the concept of a REED (review of existing education data) to reduce the volume of evaluations for districts. In some cases it may be appropriate for parents to push for a REED, but a school can still take along time on those. .

  8. we requested an IEP and was told that IEP meeting can not happen over summer and we will schedule within 30 days in august when school starts?! but why ave summer school then

  9. I waived the 10-day notice so our team could meet this week to complete an IEP revision that had been in progress since October. I was contacted, the day of the meeting, and asked if I had a list of my concerns, changes, etc. I responded that I did not and did not have time to type one up (we were just 2.5 hrs away from the meeting) and I was working. The Director immediately canceled the meeting. I wrote to let her know I was ready to meet – and needed to talk with the team – my request was completely ignored. I later learned that the notice that my input was needed was a link (not attachment) in an earlier email – I’d overlooked it. But did not note that the meeting would be canceled without my compliance. Is this legal?

    • Kris, it’s apparent that your relationship with the school isn’t positive. You asked if the school’s cancelling an IEP meeting is legal. This happens all the time. No law prevents schools or parents from cancelling and/or rescheduling a meeting. I don’t think a judge would look upon this as an illegal act.

      • The better question probably would be: Can a district require a parent/guardian to submit a letter before agreeing to a meeting?

        • The answer to the question “Can a district require a parent/guardian to submit a letter before agreeing to a meeting?” is no. The law does not require the parent to submit anything although a hearing officer or Administrative Law Judge is unlikely to find the district’s request unreasonable, especially if the case is complex and/or the relationship between parent and school is fraught.
          If you haven’t done so, document what happened in a letter (not email) AND request that the meeting be rescheduled AND that the team provides you sufficient notice to attend, given your schedule.

          Emails are *not* a good way to communicate when you deal with a bureaucracy or if you have a dispute.

  10. I had requested an initial IEP domain mtg in Feb based on a new diagnosis. I was just able to get the formal diagnosis to the district and they are telling me that due to school shutdown, the mtg cannot be held until next school year & we must continue w/ 504 plan until then. There are no services being provided via the 504 so a mtg is useless. Can I push for the domain mtg instead of the 504 mtg? Located in Illinois.

    L

    • The federal dept. of education has made it clear that district’s Child find obligation continues despite school closures. You can reach out to your state dept. of education to determine what this means in your state.

      • However, if face to face testing is required to determine if a child meets eligibility, then it will have to wait until school resumes.

    • Gia, I’m not familiar with the term “IEP domain mtg” but since you don’t want a 504 meeting, perhaps you are referring to an IEP meeting. It sounds like your child hasn’t been found eligible for special ed under the IDEA yet – that you requested an initial IEP but the school closed before eligibility was determined. If that’s the case, your child isn’t eligible for an IEP yet. If you want to push for something, maybe you should push for a 504 that includes services.

  11. Does a Florida school district have the legal right to request an early (5months early) annual IEP meeting for the convenience of the district so they will have less IEP meetings before their FTE date in October of next school year SY 20/21? There is no reason to have it early for the students. Goals have not been met, and there was not sufficient amount of time for goals to be met.

  12. First, I want to thank the developers of this website for providing this information and answering our questions on IEP matters. Penny had asked if the school is still in compliance if the parent asks for a delay in the review of IEP until the beginning of the next school year. I am in the same predicament with my son’s IEP. The review was due to occur in March however, with the outbreak of COVID19 it was canceled. I have requested that the review of his IEP be delayed until the beginning of the school year for 2020/2021. My question is will his IEP be in jeopardy from a legal/compliance perspective if the review is delayed until next school year?

    • Hello Kim, I work for a school and can share how my district is handling it. We are holding virtual meetings if the parent agrees to do so. If the parent is unable to participate in a virtual meeting or does not wish to, the IEP will continue to be implemented beyond it’s duration date until normal meetings can resume.

      Hope this helps.

  13. Is it possible to postpone an ARD meeting? Back in February, I asked that my child be evaluated in February for formal achievement. Due to the Corona outbreak, this did not occrr. At this time all of his IEPS goals are way below his level. The team said that we had to have an ARD meeting, but I would like for the achievement to take place and then have an advocate offer suggestions for the IEP. The teachers have purposely made his IEP very easy so they do not have to put any effort to accomplish those goals.

    • Pat, it could be, depending on the facts. Our education agency (TEA) is saying if timelines cannot be met, they are to document this & why. Meetings can be held virtually, but you want testing done before then. That is a reason for postponing a meeting. If you have not done so, put your concerns about the goals, & low expectations, & request for testing in writing to the principal & district special ed director. I work for the TX parent training & information project. Our staff person for your area can assist you. You can find that person at: http://www.prntexas.org

    • Penny, Do you know why the parent wants to delay the IEP until Fall? Does anyone on the team know why the parent wants this delay? People are struggling to survive. I’m afraid life isn’t going to get easier anytime soon. Is the parent overwhelmed with the stresses and pressures of life?

      Does the parent understand that she doesn’t have to attend a typical IEP meeting – that the team can have an IEP meeting by video conferencing or conference phone calls?

      Does the parent understand that the IEP team (that includes this parent) can develop a written document to amend or modify her child’s current IEP without a meeting of the child’s entire team?

      The IDEA says an IEP should be in place for each child with a disability at the beginning of the school year. This is April. A new school year will begin in August or early September. The “shelter in place” requirements will ease up after COVID-19 runs its course.

      The parent may be more receptive after the virus abates and life settles down. Someone on the team should stay in touch with her, offer emotional support and validation. Ask what her child is doing and what he/she needs. Offer help and resources if needed or wanted.

      The beginning of this school year will be even more chaotic than usual. The last thing anyone needs is to worry about IEPs that could have been modified during the 4+ months school was closed. Everyone – the parent, child and school will be in a better position if there is at least a revised and updated IEP in place when school begins.

  14. Is the school still in compliance if the parent doesn’t want to do review IEP during this “crazy” time?

  15. I missed my daughter’s annual iep meeting over the phone and the “team” had the meeting without me. I was told of this when my phone recharged and I asked could the meeting be rescheduled. Can they have a meeting without the parent?

    • Rhonda, Spring is IEP season. Although we are living in a crazy time, schools are still required to produce IEPs. Parents are still required members of their children’s IEP teams.

      IEP teams need to have IEP meetings to deal with new scenarios: to revise this year’s IEP to reflect how they can and will deliver special ed services; to consider compensatory services for the services being missed; and to develop IEPs for next year.

      You can expect IEP teams to feel pressure and confusion about how they are supposed to deal with this new reality.

      I have a couple of questions. How would you describe your relationship with your child’s IEP team before the coronavirus crisis?

      Do you have the last IEP? What are the dates for services to begin and end?

      Have you communicated with your child’s team about your need to reschedule the meeting? IN WRITING?

      In my reply to Nancy, I described what the law says about IEP meetings when face-to-face meetings aren’t possible.

      • Hello, I have had the same thing happen with my virtual meeting. It was scheduled for 18 May 2020 but I missed it due to not being able to log into zoom. On 20 May 2020 I sent an email to principal, vp, 3 teachers, and 2 ESE teachers. I have never missed a meeting and I’m very involved with the school. I was shocked that the meeting went on without me. I am now trying to understand can they hold it without me and what laws and regulations do I need to bring up. The only email I received back stated, “now that you have the official copy of the new IEP do you have any questions or concerns about goals?”

        • If you could not log in during the meeting you should have called one of the school officials and asked for help getting on.

  16. Are school districts required to hold annual IEP’s, Tri’s and initials during a declared state of emergency, i.e. the corona virus or can the IEP be held when school is back in session?
    2) If the IEP is held what should be put for start of services date since we don’t know when school will resume.
    Thank you
    Nancy

    • On March 12 2020, the US Dept of Education published guidance about educational services to children with disabilities during the pandemic. In long-term absences (over 10 days), IEP teams need to meet to amend and/or revise IEPs and make “an individualized determination whether and to what extent compensatory services are needed … including to make up for any skills that may have been lost.” Links to these publications are in Coronavirus (COVID-19) Closed My Child’s School: Is the School Required to Make Up Missed Services?
      in last week’s issue of The Special Ed Advocate. This newsletter is free so please subscribe.

      The federal special education law (IDEA) says, “School meetings do not have to be face-to-face. IEP and placement meetings, mediation meetings, and due process (IEP) resolution sessions may be convened by conference calls or video conferences.” 20 USC § 1414(e). (see page 107 in Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition)

  17. When there is a state of emergency do IEP meetings still have to occur, like the one our country is currently facing? I have two IEPs that will fall within the duration set by our governor for schools closing due to the health epidemic.

    Thank you for your time.

    State of Michigan Special Education Teacher.

    • If a school is not open, I do not see how the state or federal dept of education would expect meetings to be held. The question is how quickly they will say they must be held after classes resume. Educators, & parents need to monitor this at the state level.

  18. Can the diagnostician just cancel the meeting on the day of the meeting because she has not finished testing? Seems at least unprofessional, the teachers didn’t even know.

    • Depending on the circumstances, it is probably legal. It is unprofessional, & creates problems for a number of people including you.

  19. The first IEP meeting of the year nothing happened because their system was down. Now I’m supposed to have one tomorrow but I got a note in my sons backpack today from his teacher saying it’s been canceled… don’t they have to give some kind of notice!?!

    • Not for canceling, but you can request in writing for a written response on why it was canceled, & when it will be rescheduled, & how much notice you will be given. You can also state any concerns that you have about the IEP or services your child is receiving.

  20. My son’s IEP meeting was in October and reconvened at the beginning of November, but ithe IEP t was not implemented until the end of November. When would be the next annual meeting? In October(when meeting started), early November(reconvened) or end of November (when it was implemented)?

    • Early November when the meeting reconvened and notice was provided to the parent. The annual date is not one year from the implementation date, but the actual meeting date where final decisions were made.

  21. Hello,
    My child’s Annual IEP was delayed because I was not available. The due date was 4/26/19. I attended the IEP on 5/3/19. The new special education teacher CHANGED the date of the next Annual IEP date. The Date was 4/24/2020 and the teacher pushed it back to 5/2/2020.
    I disagreed with the teacher, but the administrator told me that it is legal to change the next Annual IEP date.
    Please tell me what Special Ed. Law has to say.
    Thanks,
    Angie

    • IEPs are good for one year so the new date reflects one year after the current meeting. Just like if you had the meeting early, you would change the date of the annual to the earlier date.

  22. My daughters IEP has been open for 7 months, almost the entire school year. She has no new goals, no progress, and was supposed to have been with a new ipad all year. At what point is this excessive? They will not schedule an IEP.

    • If you have not sent a written letter on this situation and a request for an IEP meeting to the district special ed director, do so. If you have, you can take this up the “chain of command” and/or to the state education agency. Your state parent training and information project can assist you. http://www.parentcenterhub.org/find-your-center

    • Julie,

      This is beyond excessive. She should have goals and should have been monitored to see if the goals need to change. The iPad should have been provided since that is in the IEP. Why are they not scheduling the IEP meeting. You as the parent have the right to request this meeting. If you have not done so write an email to the Super Intendant and Special Education Director to get to the bottom of what is going on.

  23. I filed a state complaint against my daughter’s school district on the grounds of them not providing a progress report as often reports are provided to non-disabled students. I’m constantly asking for a report and don’t get anything until days or weeks later. The DOE accepted an alternate resolution from the district which includes providing the reports as required but the district continues to not provide reports until I hound them for one. When I ask the DOE how they are monitoring the district’s compliance they only tell me we’ll reach out to the district and work with them to address with my concern. There are additional concerns addressed in my compliant (data collection, FBA/PBIP), but it seems the DOE just made accomodations for the district with no accountabilty. Thoughts????

    • I am a believer in paper trails. You can send them written updates, with copies to the special ed director, on what they are doing & not doing, and new complaints. You could try going up the chain of command at the DOE. You could try going to the district superintendent and school board, if you have not already done so. It also might help if other parents spoke up about the same or similar complaints.

      • I have done all of the above in my own situation and it’s the Special Services director that is denying my meeting and the Superintendent is blatantly ignoring me. I had to hire first an advocate just to get a meeting, then an attorney. They refused me a meeting because they refuse to discuss ESY services that were not mentioned in my IEP request. DOE explained that they needed proof of progression on their end and that they couldn’t deny a meeting on an unresolved issue but they did it anyway. The DOE also explained that they couldn’t intervene, they advise you to file complaints but they can’t make the district do anything. If there is a repercussion for non-compliance I was told they would not tell the parents what that is, only that it was addressed.

      • This parent indicated that a formal complaint was filed with the DOE (Department of Education) as meaning at the State level. The concerns are that the DOE is not appropriately doing its job to hold the LEA (school district) accountable for the failure to following IDEA (law) for progress monitoring. Instead the DOE are making “accommodations for the district with no accountability.” The response for what you can do is not to file a complaint with OSEP against the DOE for its failure to follow IDEA to make sure that all of the children in its jurisdiction having a disability is receiving a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The continued violation of progress monitoring to the parent denies the parental rights. DOE has a commitment to the federal court to remedy noncompliance.

  24. My child’s SPED never did an observation at all last year (which was required in the IEP) and his grades are
    now mainly D’s below from last year & so far this year. All assessments have been redone except for OT which is soon. Weaknesses were found in more detail than past years.
    So, we had an IEP and the school scheduled it for 3 hours. That was enough to get through the reports but not actually make any goals or recommendations. The school called time and then won’t reschedule to complete it for 5 weeks. I’m not ok with this, but is there anything I can do to force it sooner? (Legally or according to any time deadlines?

  25. help please…..

    can a school district hold a meeting that lasts only 2 hours when they know at the start it will likely take 4 to 5 hours to go over all reports, services, and goals?
    can they seriously make us come in 3 to 5 times for 2 hours each time and take the whole year to set the iep?

    • Taking several meetings to develop an IEP is not unusual, & is allowable. Taking most of the year to develop an IEP is not. Parents have the right to use the dispute resolution processes in cases like this.

  26. My husband and I always attend our daughters IEP but the date they chose doesn’t work for us and the IEP is due March 20th
    Are we allowed to request to postpone it?

  27. If a student is hospitalized and their annual review IEP meeting is due, does the school hold the meeting anyway without the student present?

  28. I just found a student eligible for special education services in a Public School in NJ. I wrote the Initial IEP to reflect a Nov. 23rd , 2017 start date to June. 20th 2018 for an end date. The question is: Can an initial IEP written as a school year IEP or does it have to be an Annual IEP therefore offering an end date of Nov. 22, 2018?

  29. I need help. My Son was put on Special education since he was 6 for short term memory. His elementary years went very well, the teacher will keep contact with me about meetings and special accommodations. He was doing well until Middle school started. 6th grade was fairly ok, the school only scheduled a meeting until I asked but it was done. I was not present for it, because I had to work and they only gave me like a 2 day notice. The year ended and he was promoted to 7th grade. When that year started, he was always in detention or there was always a complaint about him. I came to the school to meet with one of his teachers and I was shocked to find out that she did not know my son needed special accommodations. I need help. My son has lost 3 years and the school is not willing to help me. any advice?

  30. I’d start with your case manager. Email and inquire if the district has any timelines/policies they utilize internally when an IEP meeting is requested. If so, request a copy of the guidelines and refer to those guidelines in future correspondence.

  31. I requested an emergency iep 5 months ago the school and the district is aware. However they will not schedule it the district can’t do anything and my sons school is a really big football school so I fortunately the school gets away with it I have a parent advocate but it just can’t be done who can I call

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