Questions to Ask at an IEP Meeting


  • How can I contact you?
  • When is a good time to have an informal meeting to discuss my child’s progress?
  • What do you see as my child’s strengths?
  • What kind of progress should I expect? What will it look like?
  • Which of these goals is a top priority?
  • How will we measure progress?
  • How do you plan to address my child’s reading deficits this year?
  • Help us understand how our child’s issues with executive functioning deficits will be supported?
  • Tell me more about the program you are proposing?
  • Can you please explain to me how this goal will close the achievement gap?
  • Can you please tell me who will be working with my child and what their training is in with my child’s disability?
  • Would it be possible to see the district policy on ….?
  • Can you tell me about my child’s day so I can understand what it looks like?
  • How does that accommodation/instructional intervention look like in the classroom for my child?
  • What support will the classroom teacher have in putting these accommodations/interventions in place?
  • What training does the teacher/provider have for this particular intervention strategy?
  • What can I do at home to support these goals?
  • Can the IEP be implemented satisfactorily in the regular classroom with supplementary aids and services?
  • What supplementary aids and services have been tried in the regular classroom?
    • What were the results?
  • Is the program evidenced-based?
  • When will changes in instruction be considered?
  • Can we work through the IEP section by section?
  • Is this a SMART goal?
  • Can we plan to meet in _________ (give a timeframe) to discuss how everything is going?
  • Can I please have a copy of the _____________ (note, document, report, log) that ___________ (name of person or position) referenced during this meeting?
  • Who is my point of contact if I should have any questions or concerns regarding the IEP?
  • What is a learning disability and what does that mean for my child?
  • Is my child on a modified curriculum or is he/she expected to master grade level content?
  • Can you please explain that again?

What Are Related Services? Part 3 of 3


I apologize!  I thought I had posted part 3 of this series a while back!

Today’s blog is the last post in a three-part series.  In this series we are discussing the related services component of the ARD (IEP) document.   In the first post of this series I discussed related services in general including the definition of related services.  In the second post, I listed out and defined some common related services. In today’s post we are going to look at how you go about obtaining related services for your child.   Continue reading

Parent Agenda


Part of effectively advocating for your child is preparing for the ARD (IEP) meeting.  One way you as a parent can prepare for the ARD (IEP) meeting is to develop a Parent Agenda.  It is used to prepare for the meeting, identify concerns and list problems, propose solutions to those problems, identify issues and problems that are not resolved, and to ask for additional services, accommodations, and modifications.

Below are some topics you can include in the Parent Agenda:

  • Things to Include:
    • Parent Input:
      • Vision Statement
      • Acknowledge what is working
      • Concerns
    • Things you want to discuss:
      • PLAAFP
      • Annual Goals and Objectives
      • Accommodations
    • Additional Supports and Services
      • Include any additional evaluations you are requesting
    • Other items you with to discuss and/or request

One aspect of the Parent Agenda is your Parental Concern/Vision statement.  This statement is a very effective advocacy tool.  It needs to be child-focused and professional.

Below is a sample Parent Concern/Vision Statement:

Our vision for Johnny is that he will continue to be placed in a typical inclusive environment with supports throughout the next five years. We hope that by the time he turns 13-year-old, he will have developed interests and have a couple of friends that he plays with regularly.

 We want John to be more independent in the classroom and during unstructured times such as recess and lunch. We want him to be able to develop more peer relationships without adult facilitation. Also, that he will be able to develop a better understanding of nonverbal communicators and expand his social language abilities in all settings. We want him to continue to be involved in team sports.

 We would like to see John develop at least one area of interest that he is passionate and skilled at (e.g., music or writing) and that will bring his self-esteem up.

 We are concerned that Johnny is still struggling with remaining on task in the classroom.  We are also concerned with the amount of time he spends each night on homework. 

 Johnny did not master two of his goals last year and we would like to discuss how we as a committee are going to address these goals and what extras supports and services many need to be put in place to ensure that Johnny is able to master these goals this year.

You can even list out your child’s needs and a way for the school to meet those needs.

  • Johnny needs less homework: Johnny spends several hours a night working on his assignments.  His ADHD medication has worn off and he spends a great of deal time being off task.  He needs time to be a child.  We have attached a Homework Log for your review so that you can see how much time he spends each night on his assignments.  

Avoid personal attacks or pointing out every issue you have with a specific member of your child’s team.  You can ask that the school copy your Parent Concern statement into the Parent Concerns section of the IEP verbatim.  If your child’s school does not have a Parent Concerns section, then you ask that they copy it into the deliberations or have the Parent Agenda attached to the ARD (IEP) document.

You can follow your child’s ARD (IEP) document or the school’s ARD (IEP) agenda in developing your Parent Agenda to make sure you are including all the topics you want to discuss.  Be sure to include specific examples and if you are asking for something that was recommended in either a school or private evaluation that you include who recommended the accommodation, support or service.

  • Johnny is having difficulty remaining on task as documented on page 20 by Ms. LSSP in the Full and Individual Evaluation dated April 1, 2017. She has recommended that Johnny receive support through a behavior goal and through OT services.  We would like to request a behavior goal and OT services to address this need.

Everything on your agenda is not going to be able to be discussed at the meeting.  Or it may be discussed but because of the feedback you are getting you may need to table it for another day.  Place a star by issues that you feel you must discuss at this meeting.  For items that were not discussed at the meeting you can either include those in the follow-up letter or schedule another meeting.  Rome was not built-in just one day and neither will your child’s education plan.

Plan to provide the school a copy of the Parent Agenda at least 36 hours before the meeting so that everyone has time to read the Agenda and gather in additional information to address your concerns.  Keep in mind that not everyone will read the Agenda before the meeting and be sure to bring extra copies to the meeting.

Special Education Process: Step 3-Eligibility

With school starting back up, I have seen an increase in posts on various support group pages from parents who state that their child’s school district did not find their child with X disability to be eligible for special education services. Many times there are several responses such as if your child has a disability they automatically qualify for special education services.  A school district cannot deny your child special education services.  Continue reading

What Are Related Services? Part 2 of 3


Today’s blog is the second in a three-part series.  In this series we are discussing the related services component of the ARD (IEP) document.  In today’s post we are going to look at common related services and their definition according to IDEA.  In first post of this series I discussed related services in general including the definition of related services.  In final post of this series, I will discuss how to obtain related services for your child. Continue reading

What Are Related Services? Part 1 of 3


Today’s blog is the first in a three part series.  We will be discussing the related services component of the ARD (IEP) document.  In today’s post I am going to give you the definition of related services according to IDEA.  In the next post I am going to list out some of the common related services and their definitions.  The third post will explain how to get related services for you child.

Your child’s ARD (IEP) document must contain a statement of the supplementary aides and related services that your child is receiving.  Related services are services that are necessary for your child to benefit from their special education program.  They can help your child access the general education curriculum, meet their IEP goals, and/or participate in extracurricular and nonacademic activities.

Related services can be either through direct or indirect (consultative) methods.  These services can be provided in your child’s classroom, through pull out services, before or after school or in your home (in home training).   They can be provided individually or in a group.  Related services are not disability specific are meant to meet the individual needs of the child.  The third part of this series will cover the provision of related services in more detail.

According to IDEA:

Sec. 300.34 Related services.

(a) General. Related services means transportation and such developmental, corrective, and other supportive services as are required to assist a child with a disability to benefit from special education, and includes speech-language pathology and audiology services, interpreting services, psychological services, physical and occupational therapy, recreation, including therapeutic recreation, early identification and assessment of disabilities in children, counseling services, including rehabilitation counseling, orientation and mobility services, and medical services for diagnostic or evaluation purposes. Related services also include school health services and school nurse services, social work services in schools, and parent counseling and training.

Related Services does not include:

(b) Exception; services that apply to children with surgically implanted devices, including cochlear implants.

(1) Related services do not include a medical device that is surgically implanted, the optimization of that device’s functioning (e.g., mapping), maintenance of that device, or the replacement of that device.

(2) Nothing in paragraph (b)(1) of this section– (i) Limits the right of a child with a surgically implanted device (e.g., cochlear implant) to receive related services (as listed in paragraph (a) of this section) that are determined by the IEP Team to be necessary for the child to receive FAPE.

(ii) Limits the responsibility of a public agency to appropriately monitor and maintain medical devices that are needed to maintain the health and safety of the child, including breathing, nutrition, or operation of other bodily functions, while the child is transported to and from school or is at school; or

(iii) Prevents the routine checking of an external component of a surgically-implanted device to make sure it is functioning properly, as required in Sec. 300.113(b).

This post is intended to give you a general idea of the law.  However, each situation is different.  If you need more specific information about how the law applies to your situation you should contact a special education attorney.  


“IDEA – Building The Legacy of IDEA 2004.” IDEA – Building The Legacy of IDEA 2004,,root,regs,300,A,300%252E34.

BOCES, Erie 1. “What are related services for students with disabilities and how are they.” Erie 1 BOCES > Home,

“The Individuals with Disabilities Education.” PACER Center – Assistance for Children with Disabilities, Bullying Prevention, Parent Workshops,

“Related Services.” Center for Parent Information and Resources,

The 13 Federal Mandates Related to IEP Goals


I came across this guide and found it very informative in breaking down IEP goals and the mandates that are tied to them.

This SMARTER Steps Federal Mandate Guide is for school staff and parents. It reviews the 13 federal requirements of Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals in user-friendly format. The legal jargon and expectations can be overwhelming to teams. This Guide helps teams understand the 13 federal mandates surrounding goal development. This Guide can help teams create compliant IEP goals so students have success.

You can find more resources on their website.

This post is intended to give you a general idea of the law.  However, each situation is different.  If you need more specific information about how the law applies to your situation you should contact a special education attorney.  

Toolbox Tips for Parents #8: Back-To-School

back-to-schoolI was in Wal-Mart earlier this week and noticed that school supplies are already making their way into the shopping carts of parents.  I thought now would be a good time to give some back-to-school tips to help parents be prepared for the upcoming school year. Continue reading