Preparing for your first IEP meeting? Before you get too far into planning, make sure you know who is on an IEP team.
By law, there are mandatory members of an IEP team. This ensures that the IEP is created collaboratively and not based solely on one person’s evaluation of the child.
Let’s take a look at each required IEP team member, as well as others that may be invited to the meeting.
Members of an IEP Team
According to the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) Section 300.321, the IEP team must be comprised of individuals who can provide an overall picture of the child’s disability, competency, and growth. Those team members include:
1 – The Parents or Legal Guardians of the Child
Including parents or guardians in the IEP process is not optional. The law very clearly lists parents as part of the team. In fact, the law goes so far as to give parents the ability to excuse other members of the IEP team along with the school district.
2 – At Least One General Education Teacher
While IDEA permits more than one general education teacher to attend the IEP meeting, it is mandatory that there is at least one in attendance. Although some gen ed teachers may be reluctant to attend, the law requires that one be present.
3 – At Least One Special Education Teacher
The special education teacher on the IEP team should be familiar with the child’s progress. There may be more than one special ed teacher invited, but, as with general ed teachers, there must be at least one in attendance.
4 – A School District Representative
This person is typically your supervisor or the director of special education for the district. The representative should, by law, be able to provide and/or oversee special education services, be knowledgeable about the general education curriculum, and be aware of the services that the district can or does provide.
5 – Someone Who Can Interpret the Results of the Child’s Evaluation
IDEA requires that there be an expert present who can interpret “the instructional implications of evaluation results.” This person may be the special education teacher or representative that is already in attendance. However, in some instances, it may be the school psychologist.
6 – The Child Being Discussed
The law very clearly indicates that the child about whom the IEP is being written should be in attendance whenever possible and appropriate.
Other Individuals Who May Be Present at an IEP Meeting
The law provides parents and guardians with the right to invite or request additional people to the meeting. Those people are:
Parents may wish to invite an advocate to the meeting with them. This may be done for a multitude of reasons and should not be considered an act of aggression on the parents’ part. Sometimes families just need the support of someone who is not associated with the school to help them clearly communicate their child’s needs. While advocates are all different, they too have the same goal in mind – helping the child about whom the IEP is written.
If English is not the family’s first language, they may request that the school provide a translator for the IEP meeting. Typically, this is done ahead of time in writing. If you know that your student’s family may require a translator, it is a good idea to touch base with them a few weeks in advance of the meeting to confirm their request as it is up to the school to arrange for such support.
Understanding who makes up the IEP team and who should be in attendance at an IEP meeting can help you organize and plan ahead.
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