If your child is 16 or you decide to have your child go to their IEP meeting, you should prepare them for the meeting before you head to the school. The most important thing to talk about with your child is what the meeting is for and why this important meeting is being held. It helps to explain that everyone who will be at the meeting is there because they want to make sure that the child gets the most appropriate help and support for school.
After your child understands what the meeting is about and who will be there, then you should talk about what people might say at the meeting. Often the meeting participants share their observations about how the child learns. Or they talk about the grades the child is getting in their classes, is s/he turning in homework, or other information that a classroom teacher might have. Your child may be anxious about having their teachers talk about them, but the teachers who know them best can share information that will help everyone understand how to teach them. It may help the child to feel less uncomfortable if you ask your child to guess what their teachers might say. You might also suggest that you begin the meeting with each of the child’s teachers stating one of your child’s strengths.
It’s also a good idea to practice what they will be asked to say at the meeting. For example, you can have your child practice introducing himself. They will surely be asked about what they want to learn this year, or what subjects are easier for them, or what subjects do they need extra help in learning. Some students may be able to share with the team how they think they learn best, or what works for them in math or reading.
One final suggestion for preparing your child for their IEP meeting is to develop some questions that YOU think the team should ask your child. You can also practice having your child answer these questions. If you share those questions with the special education teacher weeks before the meeting the teacher can also help the student practice answers to the questions.
Sometimes having your child attend their IEP meeting helps the child understand how important the meeting is and how important their education is. It also shows how many people are committed to helping them learn.
Keep reading the SeeMyIEP.com Blog for more information about getting the most from the time spent at your child’s IEP meetings.