Advocates Advice - Students attending their IEP meetings
Advocates Advice - Parents, you have the right to decide if your child attends their IEP meeting up until they are 18 years old. Schools often act as if it is mandatory. It is not. It is your decision. Put your decision in writing on the meeting notice. I think common sense must be utilized in this situation and I typically do not recommend their attendance until perhaps their junior/senior year and only if all circumstances are met and the student is prepared, mature enough and ready for such a meeting. BTW – This is a great goal for their transition plan in the IEP (not just will attend their IEP meeting).
WHY? (Schools get very angry at me for not advising that my clients attend their IEP meetings)
Because students are uncomfortable and do not want to be in a room full of 8-15 adult school personnel staring and talking about them. If you ask them (and I have), they don’t want to come, ever. DUH?
Because most students with disabilities are less mature than their peers anyway and are not ready or prepared.
Because they need to be in class doing their school work and don't need to miss 2-4 hours of class time.
Because schools have not prepared them for this very adult meeting where their disability/behaviors are talked about in detail.
Because it is embarrassing and intimidating for them.
Because they are really only needed for the Transition piece or recommendations for accommodations and this can be done in an informal meeting with their case manager.
Because I do not want them exposed to their teachers frustrations with their behavior or performance due to their disability. (and yes, the few times a client of mine attended their IEP, they were verbally attacked and I had to stop the meeting, even when we were assured this would not happen).
Because I have seen how teachers act when my client is NOT present and I would never expose a child to that adult behavior………………
and I could go and on…………
I do think for students planning to attend college it can be very helpful for them to attend their IEP meetings during their Junior/Senior HS year. These students should be fully prepped for these meetings by both the school and parents/advocate. There should be no surprises. They should already fully understand their disability and strengths/weaknesses. They should review their IEP in advance of the meeting. They do need to learn to self advocate for themselves and must learn to talk to their teachers. In college, they will HAVE to do this themselves. Parents are not allowed. So parents (and schools) MUST begin this process early in HS, but not by just dumping them in an IEP meeting now unprepared…………..
If your middle or early HS students wants to attend their IEP, make sure you have prepared them. Talk to them in advance about the “IEP process”, tell them the length of the meeting, let them review the IEP, make sure they understand their disability, discuss their and your concerns, prep them for answering anticipated school questions, and make sure you and your student are on the same page as far as what you want in the IEP. Again, there should be NO surprises……….
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Carol Sadler, Special Education Consultant/Advocate
GA Advocacy Office PLSP I Graduate
1105 Rock Pointe Look
Woodstock, GA 30188
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"There is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequal people." ---- Thomas Jefferson
“Refrain from Restraining, Secluding and Corporal Punishment & Aversives are Abusive and Dehumanizing” ---- Carol Sadler, Advocate
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CONFIDENTIAL AND PRIVILEGED
Information contained in this communication is confidential and privileged. It is not meant to represent legal or medical advice, but rather advice given based on my knowledge as a trained Parent Advocate by the GA Advocacy Office, Council of Parent Advocates & Attorneys, CHADD, LDA, the GA DOE Parent Mentor program as an invited guest and the special education attorneys that I often work with on educational matters. Please do not forward without my permission.