IEP Meeting Conversation Stoppers
Some of the statements made to parents at IEP Meetings are "conversation stoppers" - comments that create barriers and can prevent the IEP Team from working cooperatively to develop effective special education services and supports for students with disabilities.
Here are nine common "conversation stoppers," some information about what may be the real issues of concern and suggestions for how parents can respond in a forceful but respectful way so that planning for their child can move forward.
Stopper #1: "The general education teacher could not be here today."
Here are possible responses:
"Nina is one of Miss Taylor's students and we think she is doing very well. However, I have no idea if the goals, accommodation and other supports we are suggesting are going to be helpful to Miss Taylor in adapting the curriculum and classroom activities so Nina can be successful. We need to schedule another IEP Meeting so that Miss Taylor can attend for at least part of the time."
"This is the first year my child has been spending a lot of time in a general classroom. I do not want to have IEP meetings without my child's general education teacher. We can complete the main parts of the IEP and give a draft to Mr. Jones. But then we will need to schedule another IEP Meeting that includes him so that our team is complete."
Stopper #2: "Your child can't participate in academic classes if he can't pass the state assessments."
What are the issues?
Both the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004) and the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) encourage schools to have high expectations for all students and require schools to provide equal opportunities for students to receive academic instruction. Students with disabilities have a right to have meaningful access to the general curriculum. Parents and IEP teams should work with general education teachers to identify those areas of the curriculum that can and should be incorporated into the student’s IEP and then provide modifications and accommodations through special education services.
Reprinted with the permission of the National Center for Learning Disabilities. © 1999-2009 National Center for Learning Disabilities, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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