All too frequently, an IEP meeting will end with the school officials telling the parent that they will send home the printed IEP “very soon.” Then time passes, and before the parents know it, a week or more has passed. Finally, the parents receive a printed copy of the IEP. Delay is always frustrating, but delays in receiving the IEP raised several red flags.
First, your child’s teachers are supposed to implement the accommodations listed in the IEP. If you have not gotten a copy of the IEP, chances are that the teachers who were not at the meeting also will not get copies. And if the teachers have not gotten copies, they have no way of knowing what changes they should be making for your child.
Second, the delay in writing down the IEP leaves open the possibility that the written IEP is different from what was decided at the IEP meeting. Changes to the IEP may be inadvertent mistakes from a mistake of memory, or they might be deliberate decisions to reduce a service that you convinced the school district to provide. Regardless of the reason, any change to the IEP that is not based on the decisions of the IEP team or your agreement is illegal. It does not matter whether the changes are malicious or merely careless on the part of the person who wrote down the IEP.
If a substantial amount of time passes before you get a copy of the IEP, review it closely to make sure that the goals and services sections of the IEP match what the IEP team decided. Keep in mind that what you asked for at the meeting might not match what the IEP team decides. If the copy of the IEP you get does not match that decision, immediately contact the school official who supervised the meeting at ask that the document be amended to conform to the IEP team decision.
Hopefully, the school official will agree to amend the IEP with your permission. If so, make sure that the new version is given to all your child’s teachers. But if the official refuses, the next step is to exercise your right to ask for another IEP meeting so that the IEP team can make sure the plan as decided matches the plan as written.
I am speaking at the SPECTRUM parent support group monthly meeting tonight, October 3, 2013 at 6:30 pm.
The Social Thinking Scholarship 2013 will close to applicants on October 7, 2013.
If you live in the Gainesville, Georgia area, Embracing the Lifestyle of Living with Autism Families Networking Together (ELLAFANT) parent support group meets monthly at 6 pm at the Church of the Nazarene on Otila Drive. Visit the ELLAFANT Facebook page for more information.
Have your own event for children with special needs? Submit it here for inclusion in future events lists.