8 steps to kicking off your child’s IEP the right way

By Amanda Morin

Whether your child’s beginning a new school year or has a brand-new (IEP), you’ll want to get off to a good start. Here’s what you can do to kick off the IEP and school year the right way.

Print out a copy of your child’s IEP.

Make sure you have (and have read) every page of the IEP — from the attendance sheet to the notes section. Know which parts are most important.

Attach an introduction letter to the IEP.

It’s a great way to share unique things teachers should know about your child that aren’t included in the IEP. Use this back-to-school letter form as a guide.

Confirm your child’s schedule.

Teacher assignments can change over the summer or when a program changes. Know your child’s most up-to-date schedule and teacher names.

Give a copy of the IEP and introduction letter to all of your child’s teachers.

This can help make everyone aware of your child’s needs. It also helps keep general education teachers involved.

Ask to be kept informed.

You’ll get scheduled progress updates, but let providers know you’re available to talk and problem-solve as issues come up.

Set up a check-in meeting.

Before calendars are booked, schedule a time a few weeks into the year to sit down with the IEP plan administrator and/or special education teacher.

Go over the IEP with your child.

Make sure your child knows the services and to expect (and can ask for).

Practice self-advocacy with your child.

Talk with your child about ways to remind teachers about what’s in the IEP. You won’t be with your child in the classroom, so it’s important that your child knows how to speak up.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Amanda Morin is the director of thought leadership at Understood and author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.” She worked as a classroom teacher and early intervention specialist for more than a decade.

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Bob Cunningham, EdM serves as executive director of learning development at Understood.