Your child’s evaluation is done, and now you are gearing up for the meeting that will decide if your child should be given an Individualized Education Program (IEP). The problem is that you are not sure what to expect and do not know how you can prepare for the meeting.
Do not worry. We have compiled a list of what you should expect from an IEP eligibility meeting.
Who To Expect At the Meeting
You will get a notice before the IEP meeting. In it, all the people who are invited to the meeting will be listed. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) lists certain people who need to be present at the meeting. These include:
- You – being the child’s primary caregiver, you are expected to be present at all the meetings and play a vital role in them.
- Your child’s general education teacher – however, if your child has just transferred schools and does not have a general education teacher assigned yet, a general education teacher who teaches students the same age as your child will attend.
- A special education teacher
- A school administrator – this person needs to be aware of general and special education and must have the power to decide about the allocation of school resources.
- The professionals who evaluated your child – they need to be there to interpret the test results. These may include occupational therapists, speech-language therapists, and school psychologists, amongst others.
- Anyone else whom you or the school invites
The Goal Of an IEP Eligibility Meeting
The goal of an IEP eligibility meeting is to decide if your child needs special education, and that decision cannot and will not be made ahead of time. It will be made together by all members of the team. You will get the chance to share your concerns and information, as well as ask questions.
How Will the Decision Be Made?
The decision of whether your child is eligible for special education depends on two main requirements.
- Your child has to have a “disabling condition.” This could be any of the 13 categories that are defined by IDEA and your state’s regulations.
- The disability should be considered to have adverse effects on the child’s education.
The final decision will be based on your child’s needs and not just on the category that they fall under or their diagnosis. They may have ADHD and a learning disability, but the category they would fall under will be assigned based on what issue is impacting their learning the most.
The Decision: Eligible Or Not Eligible?
Sometimes, the team might not find your child to be eligible for special education. In other cases, they might. If it is decided that your child is eligible for special education, an IEP will be created for them, and you will prepare to attend an IEP meeting next.
IDEA requires that the whole team gets together and decides whether the child is eligible for special education or not. As a parent, use the IEP eligibility meeting to put your thoughts forward and do what is best for your child.