March 31, 2014 § 1 Comment
The IEP meetings are supposed to be a team process but very commonly now parents walk in and are handed a draft. It is so influential to be handed that draft before the discussion has even taken place. I UNDERSTAND that the intent is not bad but as a parent it makes me feel like they have already “decided” it doesn’t feel like a team, instead it feels like I am there to decide if I agree or disagree with what they have already drafted. It’s sketchy.
It is a legal requirement that parents must leave an IEP meeting with summary notes. A draft is acceptable but it dances on inappropriate when you are handed it before a meeting begins. I have even received the “draft” days before the meeting as a “favor.” (Not a favor I wanted.)
I also find it personally distracting when the coordinator spends the entire meeting on her lap top editing the draft. All of this in the name of saving time – until you get a parent like me! Then it’s going to take twice as long because I am actually going to go through every detail on that draft in the meeting and argue for the changes I want. When there is a draft presented it automatically puts parents in a place to defend, argue and change. The IEP meeting is a place for everyone to share their ideas, discuss and develop the possibilities for a child, there needs to be dialogue.
I am not saying that teachers and therapist should come to meetings unprepared. As a special educator I have always jotted down what the goals I will propose look like so I can sound articulate when I present my ideas to a parent. Sometimes with parent and team input those ideas are totally scrapped or reworked. That is what is supposed to happen.
Districts using prewritten drafts are really taking advantages of parents who are not well versed in special education. When a draft is presented it doesn’t involve the parents in a dialogue that it should and they may not know how it is supposed to be..
Please let a team meeting be a place where an IEP can be developed the way it was supposed to be, with contributing voices from all members.