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Team Meeting Tips

Updated: Apr 19, 2021

Team meetings can seem intimidating. Here are some tips that - if you're not represented or there with an advocate - you should know about ahead of time:

  1. You. You are a member and integral part of that Team. The School is obligated under the law to provide you with notice and an attendance sheet of everyone who will be there. If you cannot make the date they chose, then reschedule. They cannot go ahead without you unless you agree in writing.

  2. Under the law, other members of the Team MUST include: a general education teacher; a special education teacher; a representative of the local educational agency (who is qualified to provide, or supervise the provision of, specially designed instruction to meet the unique needs of children with disabilities; is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum; and is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the local educational agency - this person must also be able to make decisions as to special education, related services, and specially designed instruction.); and an individual who can interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results, who may be a member of the team described in clauses (ii) through (vi). No one can be excused from the meeting unless you have agreed to their absence at the meeting.

  3. There is no set time for an IEP meeting. Remember, it is individualized so how can they all take the same amount of time? If your school district wants to resume before you are ready, say you are not ready and that you were not aware there was a time limit. If they need to adjourn because there is another meeting, then reschedule! Wait until they pick a new date before you leave the room.

  4. Meaningful Participation. You, as a parent of a child with a disability are entitled to participate in your child's IEP process. That means, if you raise a question or concern about your child's education and related services and the school says "we aren't going to discuss that today" or "we don't do that at IEP meetings" then you should be aware that the school is violating your right to meaningfully participate. No need to get adversarial, but under IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), your child is entitled to a free and appropriate education (FAPE) including special education and related services to meet your child's unique needs. That includes specially designed instruction, which can and should be discussed at Team meetings.

  5. Specially Designed Instruction, under the law, relates to the content, methodology, or delivery of instruction for your child's unique needs. Therefore, if your school says for example that they don't want to discuss specific reading tools or approaches for dyslexia (which your child has received a diagnosis for, or has a suspected diagnose for) at the Team meeting, a perfectly valid response would be that the school should: (1) have a member present to discuss specially designed instruction because that's required as part of the Team; (2) methodology is part of the specially designed instruction that needs to be addressed for the special education and related services for your child; and (3) not discussing the specific reading approaches would interfere with your meaningful participation of the process.

  6. When in doubt, ask "Why"? If you feel like something doesn't sound right or if you don't understand something, ask the school to explain it to you. Even better, ask them to write it down for you. Then, you've got the explanation written down and if they're wrong, you've got it in writing for the future if you need it. If they don't have an answer, or they don't have a legal reason to say no, then push on. Again, it doesn't have to be adversarial. However, this is your child and you have the right to advocate zealously on behalf of your child.


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