Parents, Own Your Role at the IEP Table

I can’t even begin to count the number of times someone has said to me “I’m just mom, I don’t know my rights at the IEP meetings.”

It’s time for that to change!

I want you to own your seat at the IEP table as a parent. YOU are the only team member who is never going to change, you are the expert on your child, you are just as important as everyone else in that meeting.

Let’s own your role as being a P.A.R.E.N.T:

P- Head into every meeting with a strong and solid Parent Input Statement. Stop filling out generic worksheets sent home from the school, stop saying “I guess I have no concerns”. Sit down ahead of your meeting. Think about what your child needs to be successful at school and what will prepare them for further education, independent living and employment.

A- Ask questions and for clarification. Stop letting the team move on before you are ready and fully understand what has happened. Make sure you know exactly what is being written, delivered, and decided before you move on to the next section of the IEP in your meeting.

R- Request data, draft copies of the document and present levels to remain an equally informed member of the IEP team. Request the data being used to make decisions, the data that supports the progress reports, and present levels of performance to make sure their goals align with what is happening right now. And ALWAYS request a draft copy of the IEP before a meeting.

E- E-mail. Start communication in writing. Details get lost in phone calls and side conversations in the pickup line. We need to make sure we are using email to remain accurate and accountable.

N- non-academic and extra-curricular opportunities. Your child on an IEP is afforded the same opportunities as their typically developing peers. This includes field trips, sports, clubs, etc. Don’t forget about these opportunities and the support your child may need to participate successfully, it’s within their rights!

T- Timelines. Get familiar, comfortable, or reach out to an IEP coach to learn. Timelines are so important in the IEP process for evaluations, data collection, progress reports, annual reviews, etc.

You are an important part of the team, own that role. Remember you are the expert on your child, so be proud to be their PARENT at the table.

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Amanda DeLuca

Amanda DeLuca lives in Ohio with her husband Sal, and is a mom of 2 to Monroe, and Jackson. Her son is on the autism spectrum and is what inspired her to begin her journey through advocacy in the IEP process. Amanda works in educational advocacy and proudly serves family both locally and remotely to empower them to come to the IEP table with confidence while working collaboratively with their team. Amanda is a business owner, proudly serves as board president for The More Than Project, enjoys teaching at her dance studio, and writing for her blog Jackson’s Journey, Jackson’s Voice.

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