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IEP meeting checklist for parents of children with deafblindness

Make sure to follow this checklist before your IEP meeting.

A visually impaired young girl with a cane shaking hands with a smiling women at a booth.

Please review this checklist prior to starting your IEP meeting. You may wish to send a copy to your team prior to the meeting so they can use it to prepare. As you go through your IEP meeting, check to make sure that each of the issues below is addressed by your team. If it is not addressed, ask your team to discuss it. Let the Director of Special Education know if your IEP meeting does not address each issue

The IEP discussion should always start with your child’s strengths and needs. This leads to a discussion of annual goals and objectives and the services and supports that will be provided to help achieve them. Then there is a discussion about whether or not your child can achieve their goals in the general education classroom, and if not, which setting is the “least restrictive” appropriate setting.

Each IEP step builds on the previous step:

  • Strengths & needs
  • Goal & objectives
  • Services & supports
  • Placement
  • Implementation

The following should occur as part of the IEP process:

  • The district/program should provide a copy of evaluations and other reports, in your language, far enough in advance of the meeting to allow you to prepare for the meeting.
  • The IEP team meeting should include your child’s general education teacher, a special education provider or supervisor, someone who can interpret the evaluation results, a professional with expertise in deafblindness, and a district representative who has the authority to make commitments for services for your child. If a member of the team is not present, you can provide informed written consent for their absence from the meeting and any information they would have provide at the meeting should be given to you in advance. If needed, you or your child should be provided an interpreter.

During the IEP meeting, the team should address the following:

  • Your child’s “present levels of academic and functional performance” (how your child is doing in school and home, the results of the most recent evaluations and testing, any information you have provided, etc.).
  • Measurable annual goals (and objectives if your child is taking alternate assessments tied to alternate standards) that are tied to the general education curriculum (at least one set of goals for each need).
  • Special education & related services that your child needs, might include:
  •  “Supplementary Aids and Services,” either directly for him/her, or for the teacher, or other children in the class, to help support your child’s successful participation in the class.
  • Any special personnel needed (e.g. teacher of the visually impaired, teacher of the deaf and hard of hearing, educational audiologist, special educator, orientation and mobility specialist), and any special skills, knowledge, or professional development needed by your child’s teacher, aide/paraprofessional, related services provider(s).
  • Any assistance and/or parent training you may need to develop your ability to help your child receive a free, appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment, and to progress, such as (if appropriate):
  • Communication: Hands-on instruction and communication tools (signs, topic boards, picture schedules, calendar box, schedule box, etc.) to learn effective strategies to decrease your child’s frustrations associated with limited receptive/expressive language skills and to facilitate increased communication between you,  your family, and your child, including Braille or sign language if that is the communication modality that will be taught to your child.
  • Occupational therapy: Hands on instruction and modeling of specific fine motor, gross motor, and sensory based activities so that you can work on at home to enhance your child’s independence;
  • Physical therapy: Strategies you can use at home to help your child increase balance, coordination, and muscle strength;        
  • Positive behavior supports: Effective teaching methods and positive behavior intervention strategies to use in your home so that you can provide consistent instruction, address difficult behaviors, and address generalization of all acquired skills.
  • Whether your child needs related services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychiatric or psychological services, transportation, travel training, orientation or mobility training, or other related services.
  • Whether your child, who has significant healthcare needs, requires an Individualized Health Plan to ensure that his/her health needs are met in the school, on field trips, and on the bus.
  • Whether your child, who has noted social deficits associated with his/her diagnosis, needs weekly instruction/intervention with a trained professional to facilitate his/her ongoing social emotional growth and ensure successful inclusion (social skills training).
  • Whether your child needs extended school year services (ESY) to make sure that he/she doesn’t lose knowledge or skills he/she has already learned, and what ESY services should be provided.
  • Whether your child/youth needs a functional behavior assessment & a positive behavior support plan to help address his/her challenging behaviors.
  • Whether your child/youth needs to learn communication skills & strategies.
  • Whether your child needs assistive technology and if so, what kind and how he/she will learn how to use it, as well as how he/she will be able to access that assistive technology to do homework.
  • If your youth is 16 or older, or earlier if appropriate, what transition to adult life services and courses of study s/he might need to prepare for post-secondary education, training, or employment.
  • How your child can access extra-curricular and non-academic activities open to students without disabilities before, during, and after school hours, including access to such activities within our home (sending) district even if your child is placed out of district.
  • Your child’s placement, which should be the “least restrictive” setting in which your child’s IEP can be implemented. The team should also discuss how your child will be able to interact with students who do not have disabilities, even if your child is not in an inclusive setting.
  • The person or people who are directly responsible for implementation of each service and program in your child’s IEP and who is directly responsible to monitor your child’s progress.
  • How you will be informed of your child’s progress toward achieving the annual goals, and how often (quarterly, or as often as parents of general education students receive report cards).
  • How your child will participate in the statewide tests or district-wide tests, and what kinds of accommodations your child will need (extended time, having the questions read aloud, giving the answers orally, testing in a more private, quieter space, using a computer or calculator, etc.).
  • You should receive a complete copy of the parental rights booklet/procedural safeguards notice and information about organizations to contact for information about your rights and to receive other needed services and supports, including information on your state’s deaf-blind project and PTI (parent center).
  • You should receive a summary of your child’s program, services and placement at the IEP meeting, and be informed that you will receive the final IEP prior to its implementation.