IEP FAQs: Can I write on the IEP?

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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:

  1. Our son had an IEP and for years I never understood what it reflected as far as his needs went let alone knowing I could write on it. Yes, parents have the right to write on the IEP! There is a section called the PLOP page and that is where your information is added to the IEP. The PLOP page allows for additional information for the parent to add as well as members of the IEP team and teachers as well. Many administrators and other school staff( ie. teachers) are not aware of this and it can be an uphill battle to make yourself heard on an IEP. Do not give up and persevere. You have every right to speak out on your child’s behalf on their IEP. Period.

  2. can the school ask one of special education teachers who never taught the student to write IEP or progress report?

  3. 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.

  4. 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 try the services and decide later as a team.

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

  7. 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?

  8. Hi,

    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,


    • It is not legal for long term subs to write IEP’s. I am the LEA of my district and verified with my SEA. They can contribute to and sign as a member, but a certified SPED teacher has to write IEP and lead the meeting.

      • Christy, a member of the IEP team will write the IEP that should describe the services the child needs and that the school will provide. IDEA does not specify which member of the IEP team writes the IEPs. (Subs are not members of IEP teams.)

  9. 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.

  10. 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 to only write down bits and pieces of the meeting and had missed some key info we had discussed that needed to be writen down.

    We have just as much right to write on the “TEAM” notes as they do. There are no laws that say parents can’t write on the minutes sheet.

  11. 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. There were reading goals on the IEP. After I wrote it down, I passed the IEP over to the team member that had made the comment and asked him if I had captured his words correctly. At this point he looked a little uncomfortable, but nodded in the affirmative. I then asked a different IEP member to sign her name under the comment as being a witness to what was said. At first, she rebelled, but then agreed to do so. All the members looked at each other as if I was some sort of kook. Three weeks later when we went to mediation because we had requested a Wilson’s reading program, which was not given, we got what we wanted in the first five minutes.

    Write notes on the IEP. They provide you with a wonderful record of what has transpired at the meeting, who said what to whom, and whether your questions as to methods of reaching goals were addressed on the IEP.

    In addition, let me say that I also use small sticky notes of different colors, and several colored highlighters. I lay out my “tools” along with my copy of NCLB and IDEA, right on the table when we enter the room. This tends to throw the team off a little bit, because they don’t know the law, and don’t feel that it is important. I usually educate them.

    Remember that when you make a copy of the IEP for yourself, the highlighting won’t come through in colors unless you use a color copier. I usually go over my copies so they all look alike. Sticky notes tend to work well because you can write a comment or a question and place it right next to the goal. If you only highlight, you may not remember why you did so.

    Good luck!

    Sharon 🙂

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