Parental Tips for the IFSP or IEP Meeting
As a parent, you play an integral part in the development of your child's Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Individualized Family Service Plan (IFSP). It is important to prepare in advance for these meetings. It is during these meetings you can best ensure your child's needs are addressed and that your family's priorities are considered. Let your voice be heard!
- Prior to the meeting, request copies of all of the evaluations and reports so you have time to look through and think about them. This allows for any concerns or questions to be addressed prior to the meeting and for you to plan a response to concerns.
- Prior to the meeting, observe the classroom placement that is being proposed for the upcoming year. Also feel free to observe in alternative placements to determine for yourself which setting is most appropriate for your child.
- Open and honest communication prior to the meeting helps to get everyone on the same page, so planning and communication with the participants is a good idea.
- Prioritize your goals. Be willing to negotiate some items away in order to achieve those goals that are most important to you and your child.
- Clear and concise communication helps to speed the meeting along. Try not to get sidetracked.
- Remember that the IEP/IFSP is a document that can be revised over time. Don't be afraid to suspend a meeting and reconvene at a later time in order to achieve your goals or to discuss all issues thoroughly.
- Be an active listener and be willing to brainstorm solutions to differences of agreement.
- If you are concerned or intimidated by the process, feel free to bring a support person with you to be an extra set of ears and to take notes.
- Prepare in advance the parent statement that becomes part of the document. This allows you time to develop your thoughts and communicate your ideas fully.