A number of steps can help you prepare for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting:

  • Watch your child in a variety of activities, including as he is doing schoolwork, playing, in social situations, eating out, and interacting within the community. Make a note of tasks and activities he has mastered and those with which you think he needs help.
  • Review records and reports from school that indicate your child’s progress.
  • Visit your child’s class and observe him at work and play.
  • Observe other classes at the school to get an idea about how children in other classes work and play.
  • Write down the services you would like to discuss that you think are needed by your child. Think about your reasons for wanting him to receive these services.
  • Collect any current medical information that might be helpful to the IEP team in determining needed services.
  • Collect any handouts or information you may have on the needs of visually impaired children from parent groups or national organizations to share with team members.
  • Know the components of an IEP and be prepared to give your input on each area.
  • Talk to your child and make a note of his interests, likes, and dislikes. Begin discussions about “what you will be when you grow up” early. These discussions are particularly important as your child becomes a teenager and prepares to work on his or her transition IEP.
  • Sign and return the form inviting you to the IEP meeting so that school personnel know you have received the invitation and are coming to the meeting. If you want to have the meeting scheduled at another time, you need to tell the school so arrangements can be made to schedule the meeting at a time that is good for all team members. The school is required to give you at least two invitations to the scheduled IEP meeting. If you have received these and do not respond to either invitation, school personnel can go ahead and conduct the IEP meeting without your being present.
  • Read invitations and other materials that come to you from the school. If you have questions about them, call the school principal or guidance counselor.
  • Ask for a copy of the IEP form so that you can be familiar with it.

From A Parents’ Guide to Special Education for Children with Visual Impairments, edited by Susan LaVenture