IEPs & 504 Plans

How to Prepare for Your Child’s Annual IEP Review

Take stock in your child’s IEP or 504 Plan to make sure she’s getting the most out of her educational experience. Here, tips for requesting changes, meeting with teachers, and setting realistic goals.

Reviewing Your Child's IEP: ADHD Accommodations That Work
Reviewing Your Child's IEP: ADHD Accommodations That Work

Crocus blooms and melting snow can mean just one thing: You’ll soon be attending the annual review of your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP). Most school districts hold this meeting in spring, so that educational team members can review current ADHD accommodations and set goals for the coming year. Here are suggestions to help you prepare.

If your child receives special services under a Section 504 Plan, the school isn’t legally required to hold an annual review or to involve parents in meetings. However, you may request a meeting at any time, and many schools invite parents to participate in the process. Many of the tips that appear below will also prove helpful to you.

Getting Ready

  • Review your child’s progress. Read the current IEP, and consider whether it has been meeting her needs. Look over the year’s report cards, test results, and notes from teachers. Use the spring parent-teacher conference to discuss which techniques and accommodations have been most effective. Review your child’s schoolwork to see which academic skills have improved, and note any continuing trouble spots.
  • It’s also a good idea to involve your child. Solicit her thoughts about which special-ed services have been helpful, and where she’s still struggling. At age 14, she may attend the meeting if you feel she can comfortably participate. By the age of 18, her presence will be required.
  • Prioritize your wish list. Determine which goals to emphasize, and which to put on the back burner.
  • Provide team members with new test results if you’ve had your child assessed privately since the last meeting.

At the Meeting

  • Be specific about your goals. Use the phrase “I’m requesting” to indicate the skills you’d like your child to get help with. It’s best to leave specific teaching methods to the professionals, although it’s reasonable to request a change if you feel a particular approach isn’t working.
  • Press for details. Make sure the plan specifies who will implement each provision, how often services will be provided, and how the IEP will be monitored. Build in a feedback loop — like weekly e-mails from teachers — to inform you of your child’s progress.
  • Take notes or audiotape the meeting, and take the plan home if you need more time to digest it. Sign only the parts you agree with, and share the results of the meeting with your child. When you’re satisfied, send thank-you notes to team members.

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  1. I have tried to get my son’s IEP team to write who will be doing what,how often,and when will I see the progress etc. My son has a BIP but it only has been updated once a year. When he was in 3 Rd grade (2015-2016) I got progress of the BIP, such as graphs showing accurances, and behavior that he was showing etc. every time I got his grades and progress toward his goals. This past year I requested it and was told only the behavior consultant can give you those reports. I think not, I believe the teacher and the paraprofessional should also be keeping this information also, I would think. The Behavior Consultant isn’t there everyday so how can I get this changed or what can I say to get them to do their job? Also he gets Counseling 30 minutes/weekly at school and I believe he needs more and they never include this therapist in the IEP meetings or do I get updates. I have so little patience and it I get so frustrated with these people because I must have to spell it out for them. I have tamed my emotions, honestly! I have been his big momma bear and navigating this Rocky road now for 8 years and the first 5 years were pure hell, excuse my language but my son has experienced the worst possible punishment at school and he shouldn’t​ have. He was trying to communicate through his behavior and they wouldn’t listen. They threatened me, called Children’s Division on me several times, referred him to juvenile office where he was put on probation for 2 years at the age of 8. He never violently hurt anyone, he would scream,cry, shutdown,fall asleep or meltdown on the floor and destroy papers or knock furniture over (not that this behavior should be tolerated) it was not enough in my eyes to traumatize him further, which is what happened. The juvenile officer recommended him to be hospitalized for further testing and diagnosis. So he spent 6 days in a children’s behavior hospital and his exiting discharge diagnosis was Unspecified, Episodic Mood Disorder, which we tried medication and behavioral therapy. Today, my son is older, still has his moods every now and then but he is changing everyday and really learning ways to manage his behavior and frustration. He has been able to get off medication, which I hope is ok.

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