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Individualized education plans (IEPs) and deafblindness

Planning for an IEP meeting can be stressful. Here are some tips to help you get prepared.

A young girl wearing pink glasses with a big smile on her face as she plays on a cat piano alongside her teacher.

Once a year, parents of children on individualized education plans (IEPs) participate in an annual meeting called the “IEP meeting.” This meeting serves as a place to discuss and finalize the components of the individualized education plan, including the type and amount of services, your child’s current level of performance, and measurable benchmarks and measurable goals. Every IEP looks different because every child is different, however, in this post, we are answering some frequently asked questions about IEP meetings.

Who will be at the IEP meeting?

Any service provider who works directly with your child or with your child’s team will attend the IEP meeting. For a child who is deafblind, this may include the classroom teacher, out of district coordinator, principal or another administrator, teacher of the visually impaired, teacher of the deaf, occupational therapist, physical therapist, speech and language pathologist, and of course, you as the parent(s).

As a parent, what will my role be in the IEP meeting?

You know your child best. During the IEP meeting, you should feel free to provide the team with any information that you feel is important or helpful to the team regarding your child’s education. This can include contributing to strengths your child has, areas you feel your child needs extra assistance with, and observations about your child’s vision, hearing, and/or communication style.

How do I know what questions to ask in the IEP meeting?

Before the meeting, you may find it helpful to make a list of all of your questions, concerns, and comments regarding your child’s education. Creating this list may ease any nerves you have before or during the meeting. Additionally, creating a list ensures that you are able to request all of the information you want or need during the meeting. If at any point during the IEP meeting you are confused, ask for clarification in the moment.

Can I see my child’s assessments and educational paperwork?

Yes. As the parent, you retain the right to view any educational documentation regarding your child. This includes any assessments and assessment reports that may have been completed. If you would like to, you are able to request these documents prior to the IEP meeting. Doing this may help you determine what questions you would like to ask in the moment.

Are there other resources that can help me succeed in an IEP meeting?

Yes! If you’re looking for additional support, we recommend checking out these resources:

IEP meeting checklist for parents of children with deafblindness
This website provides a checklist for you as the parent to use before and during your child’s IEP meeting. It includes important questions to ask, issues to discuss, and what resources to ask the school to provide you with during the meeting.

CADRE: For Families | En Español
The Center for Appropriate Dispute Resolution in Special Education (CADRE) has an excellent section for parents of children with disabilities. This includes information about working collaboratively with the school, self care strategies for parents, guidelines for dispute resolution, and more.

Developing an effective IEP for children with deafblindness: A parent mini-guide
This mini-guide provides you with information specifically related to IEP meetings for deafblind students. This includes what specially trained professionals should be attending and participating in the IEP development and meeting and information and related supports and services you may ask for.

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Photo by Ben Mullins on Unsplash

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