IEPs & 504 Plans

How to Get an IEP: Step 7 – Prepare for the IEP Meeting

How should I prepare for the IEP meeting with my child’s school? How can I increase the odds of getting the best accommodations for him? What documents should I bring? Can I record the IEP meeting? Do I need a lawyer or education advocate?

ADHD School Accommodations: How Parents Can Prepare for IEP or 504 Meetings
ADHD School Accommodations: How Parents Can Prepare for IEP or 504 Meetings

How Can I Best Prepare for My Child’s IEP Meeting?

You are the expert on your child, his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD or ADD), and how he learns best. Let everyone at the IEP meeting know that by taking the lead. Use information and documents from teachers and caretakers, as well as things you have observed, to make a profile of your child that you can hand to the attendees (example below). Attach a photo of your child to the first page.


  • Fast learner
  • Good sense of humor
  • Optimistic
  • Spontaneous
  • High interest in computers and technology


  • ADHD
  • Mild dyslexia
  • Low frustration tolerance



  • List ADHD accommodations that have helped your child in the past and that you think would address his academic challenges.


  • Communication between parent and teacher is essential. Propose bi-weekly e-mails to check on progress or make the other aware of potential problems. Propose working on the same behavior, such as frustration tolerance, at home and at school, and making joint efforts to help find strategies that can be employed in both settings.


  • You might want to include one or two goals at the end of the profile, areas in which you would like to see your child improve. These could address organization, independence, or preparing for tests. For example, you might state that you would like to see your child get better at writing down homework assignments. Work with the school to create steps toward the goals.

Should I compile other documents for the IEP meeting and hand them out to all of the attendees?

Yes, bring your child’s report cards, doctors’ recommendations, and other critical school records. Some of the attendees did not see this information because they were not part of the assessment process. The following checklist should help:

1. Copies of the student’s most recent evaluation

2. Results of any outside testing

3. Reports and recommendations from doctors, therapists, or other medical professionals

4. Communications from teachers

5. Reports from outside tutors

You might be concerned about sharing too much information. Do you need to share your child’s entire history or his medical records? Don’t share anything you are uncomfortable with others knowing, but keep in mind that you may need to share additional information to back up your requests.

[Free Guide: How Do I Create an IEP for My Child?]

Ask the school in advance who will be attending the meeting, so you can make packets of your child’s profile and documentation for each attendee. Do not make extra copies of confidential information, such as your child’s medical records.

Finally, before the meeting, make an agenda checklist — a list of things you want to discuss. What services do you want? How often? Are there problems with anything in particular, like a teacher or another student? How will the school let you know how your child is doing? How often are they going to contact you? Is there a way for you to find out what his homework is going to be? Tick off each item as you get a satisfactory answer in the meeting; place a question mark next to ones that aren’t adequately answered.

Bring paper and a pen to the meeting to keep notes and to write down anything you want clarified.

Do I have to go to the meeting alone, or can I bring someone to help me?

You may enlist someone to attend the meeting with you — a good friend, a relative, or an education advocate. IEP and 504 meetings are tough on parents, sometimes leaving them in tears. It’s good to have an ally who can take careful notes: “Mrs. Smith said such and such” or “Mr. Jones said this and this.” Otherwise, you will forget some important points. You have the right to tape-record the meeting, but you should understand that making the request sometimes makes school officials defensive.

How to Get an IEP for Your Child with ADHD