Paragon AutismBlog

A Few IEP Basics

Of the many challenges that parents encounter in attempting to meet the needs of a child with a disability, handling school and IEP issues can be especially daunting. There are many rights and protections afforded to parents of children with disabilities, but many parents simply don’t know about them. If there’s one rule to know, it’s this: If you’re not happy with your child’s IEP, don’t sign the IEP! You DO NOT have to sign anything that you don’t agree with. In your role as advocate for your child, you need to be satisfied with this document and what’s contained within it before signing. Here are some of the important things you CAN do, and others that you DON’T HAVE to do.

Things you CAN do:

  • Ask to reschedule
  • Bring anyone you want
  • Make an audio recording
  • Request relevant school staff to attend
  • Refuse to excuse staff that you want there
  • Ask for anything that you think is appropriate
  • Refuse to sign
  • Have a record in the Prior Written Notice

Things you DON’T HAVE to do:

  • Sign the IEP
  • Agree to meeting time/date if it isn’t satisfactory
  • Agree with evaluation results
  • Agree with classification determinations
  • Agree with placement decisions
  • Agree with services and accommodation offered (or not)

The IEP process should be a truly collaborative, team effort. It’s up to you to make sure that you fulfill your role as captain of the team!