This is the second part of our series of what happens in an IEP meeting. I remember going to the first IEP meeting for our daughter. I had attended a training about what happens in IEP meetings but I still felt lost and nervous about the first meeting.
Before we go into the PLA&FP, I want to make sure we go over some other processes that will happen before or during the meeting.
Start the Meeting
Once you are sitting in the meeting, one of the first things you should do is find out who is in the meeting. Usually introductions are made and a signature sheet for participation is passed around so everyone has a chance to sign.
If there is anyone new or that you don’t know, ask them who they are and what role they play in the meeting. It is not unusual to not know who the school administrator is and that is why you can ask them if they know your child, if they have met them, etc.
During this part of the meeting is where you can decide to continue or postpone the meeting based on the people who have attended.
Remember from the last article,(I’ve been invited to an IEP, what do I do?) we stated that all IEP team member who were invited should be in attendance unless they had sent you, the parent, a letter in writing and you had agreed to their absence before the meeting.
Reading of the PLA&FP
The first part of the meeting will then start with the Special Ed teacher or the moderator of the meeting reading to all the Present Levels of academic and functional performance. I call this the “let’s rip my heart out won’t you” part of the meeting. Why? Because this is where they tell you all the things you kid cannot do compared to a typically developing peer. But this is not all bad. Here is where we as parents want to listen and see if the child that the write-up is describing matches the child we have at home. However, if you received a copy of the IEP before the meeting you will have heard this information and be prepared to ask questions should this not look like the child you have at home. Additionally, you can ask where they got their information if it is not accurate. Also, you can ask to add any information you think might be helpful to the team. One of the trainers I worked with called this the starting point to our academic trip; we need to know where we are so we know where we are going.
What else might the team examine?
The team will want to know as much about your child as possible so some of the things they will look at is how the disability affects their involvement and progress in the general education curriculum. Why? Because we need to remember that your child, is first and foremost a general education student who receives special education services to help them access their education.
The team might also look at data from other sources like:
Question the team might ask?
The team will want to know where the child is when compared to children who are the same age as your child or in the same grade. This will give us the road map for the program the team is developing. The team wants the best picture possible. The team may want to know?
All of this information will be documented and the team will take it into consideration when developing the goals for the IEP.
What areas is the IEP team looking at during the PLA&FP?
Since the PLA&FP will give us a picture of where the student is at this specific time, the team will also need to consider other areas that may be affected by his or her disability. The team may also ask or consider:
At the end of this section you want to know that the information contained in the PLA&FP is a brief, clear, specific and accurate statement with enough information so that the team can develop annual goals, accommodations, modifications and other IEP services your student would need to work toward his or her academic success.
In the upcoming posts we will go into detail on the following:
Parts of an IEP according to IDEA:
Feel free to send me your questions or comments.