At a glance
A case manager is your point of contact for your child’s IEP.
A case manager makes sure services in the IEP are being followed.
Having check-ins with a case manager keeps parents in the loop.
When kids have an IEP or are in the process of getting one, they have a case manager through the school. You’ll see the case manager’s name listed on the paperwork you receive. You may wonder: What are case managers and what do they do? Here’s what you need to know about IEP case managers.
An IEP case manager’s role
The case manager is responsible for making sure your child’s special education services and supports are in place. The case manager ensures that those services and supports are being provided for in the way that’s described in your child’s plan.
Case managers often work with a number of students during the year. Their responsibilities may vary from school to school. But one thing all case managers have in common is overseeing the IEPs of students.
The case manager makes certain all paperwork and evaluations for your child are up-to-date. The manager also makes sure everyone is following the IEP, so your child has the support needed to meet specific goals.
How IEP case managers work with parents
Your first contact with a case manager may be when it’s time to get your child evaluated. The case manager will keep you informed about when your child’s testing will happen. The manager can also help explain the special education process to you, and set up an IEP eligibility meeting once the evaluation process is complete.
Once your child is found eligible for special education services, the case manager becomes your primary point of contact.
- Read one mom’s story about how she just wants to be her son’s parent, not his private IEP case manager.
That doesn’t mean you can’t talk to your child’s teachers about things that are happening in the classroom. But when you have questions about your child’s IEP, need to set up a meeting or have concerns, you should reach out to the case manager.
The case manager will also keep you posted on your child’s progress and let you know if there are any concerns that come up on the school’s end.
How case managers work with the IEP team
Your child’s case manager will stay in close contact with the IEP team. It’s good for teachers, school officials and specialists to stay up-to-date on your child’s plan. Among other things, the case manager is also in charge of:
- Working with teachers and parents to coordinate schedules for IEP meetings
- Making sure all team members get prior written notice before and after meetings
- Collecting information and updates from teachers, especially if they’re unable to attend an IEP meeting
- Taking notes, gathering data, and writing up the IEP document
Partnering with your IEP case manager
Your child’s teachers will change from year to year, but often the IEP case manager will stay the same as long as your child is in the same school. It depends on the school and staffing options. If you do get the same case manager, it can make it easier to work with an IEP team. That’s because the case manager knows your child’s school history.
Having good communication with your child’s case manager can help keep you in the loop about what’s happening at school. You may want to talk about planning to check in with the case manager every week or two. Be sure to talk through both of your preferences for contact by phone or email. That can help you avoid unnecessary meetings or frustration.
Your child’s IEP case manager will be someone you want to know well. And you’ll want this person to know your child well. Get tips on how to recognize your child’s strengths so you can share them with the case manager. You can even provide a 3×3 card about your child that the case manager can pass on to the rest of the team.
The case manager makes sure the IEP team understands your child’s plan.
Good communication with the IEP case manager can help you avoid unnecessary meetings.
Building trust with the case manager creates opportunities to share important information about your child.
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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.
Jenn Osen-Foss, MAT is an instructional coach, supporting teachers in using differentiated instruction, interventions, and co-planning.