What if I go to the IEP meeting and the required people are not present?

If you attend an IEP meeting and are told that a key person, such as the child’s special education teacher is away on a field trip, then you can stop the meeting. Reschedule it for a day and time when all members are present. This is your child you are discussing and you want all the professionals involved present and hearing the same information. For example, it creates a problem if you make decisions about teaching the child with the Edmark Reading program and the special education teacher is not there to say if she knows how to use the program.

When the meeting begins with introductions, write down the name and role of every person in the room. If you find out a key professional is missing, ask why and consider postponing the meeting. If they say, “Oh, we can fill in Mrs. SoandSo later.” Stop them right there and say you want her to hear this information first hand. Remember playing the telephone game as a kid? One person starts a message and then it is whispered to another child and passed down the line to the end. When the child at the end says what he heard it never matches how the message started. You don’t want information for helping your child distorted. Insist everyone be present!

The federal law outlines when a member need not be present. A member of the IEP Team described in 34 CFR 300.321(a)(2) through (a)(5) is not required to attend an IEP Team meeting, in whole or in part, if the parent of a child with a disability and the public agency agree, in writing, that the attendance of the member is not necessary because the member’s area of the curriculum or related services is not being modified or discussed in the meeting.

A member of the IEP Team described in 34 CFR 300.321(a)(2) through (a)(5) may be excused from attending an IEP Team meeting, in whole or in part, when the meeting involves a modification to or discussion of the member’s area of the curriculum or related services, if:

* The parent, in writing, and the public agency consent to the excusal; and
* The member submits, in writing to the parent and the IEP Team, input into the development of the IEP prior to the meeting. [34 CFR 300.321(e)] [20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(1)(C)]