Life, Parenting

3 Things You Must Do to Conquer an IEP Meeting

3 Things You Must Do to Conquer an IEP Meeting

The IEP Meeting is the Court Room

Oh, those dreaded IEP meetings, where it feels more like a meditation than a meeting. If it was not held at the local school I would almost call it a trial. Lucky for me,(not so much for them) during this period I was working as a legal assistant to a fantastic attorney, intimidating, brilliant, tough, funny, organized and an amazing teacher. I learned how to think like an attorney and challenge my self to do the best in all parts of my life. So, after many IEP meetings that ended with more frustration than success, I stopped thinking like a parent and started thinking like an attorney.

Here are the 3 things you Must so to conquer an IEP Meeting. First, you must …

 Prep the Case Like a paralegal


Prior to my realization for the need to change the way I dealt with the Public School System I was attending IEP meetings unprepared. As such, the “IEP TEAM” the school was using it to their advantage. I had no clue what my child’s rights were, I did not know what services to request and I had no evidence to back up any of my claims. So, the first step was to become the paralegal and start doing some research lots and lots of research so that I could argue my case.

Step 1: Get the Evidence

From this point forward you will need to keep anything and all things that your child brings home from school, that has been graded or noted. Also, you will keep all forms of communication you have between the school, teacher and yourself. Including any email, handwritten notes or notices sent regarding any school changes. Any and all evaluation reports prepared by the school and any independent evaluations your child has received.

From this point forward you will need to keep anything and all things that your child brings home from school, that has been graded or noted. Also, you will keep all forms of communication you have between the school, teacher and yourself. Including any email, handwritten notes or notices sent regarding any school changes. Any and all evaluation reports prepared by the school and any independent evaluations your child has received.

Additionally, all forms of communication should be by email, with the recipient always being the principal and the carbon copy (CC) the staffing specialist. If you speak to any of the school staff regarding your child in person or via phone, you must follow up with an email. Two weeks before your IEP meeting send an email to the teacher and ESE teacher requesting a detailed report on your child progress. Then contact the staffing specialist and have her send you a proposed draft of the IEP, which they usually already have prepared. Ask that it all be ready for you to pick up or emailed to you at least three days before the meeting!

Step 2: Research 

Knowledge is Power!

Start by getting a copy of the IDEA ACT, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

Let me help with that, I have provided one here for you! IDEA Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

It’s pretty lengthy, I know, but it’s crucial know what your child’s rights are in Public School. Keep it! For the most part, the most important thing is that the school can’t violate the right to Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE). In other words, they need to provide a way for a child to learn in a manner that is most appropriate for his need and that looks different from child to child.

For example, my son has various learning disorders, and he struggles with staying focused in the classroom, so he requires a personal FM system, (it is headphones that only transmits the teacher’s voice). My nephew has Autism, and he needs a one-on-one aid( aka teachers aid) during instructional time in the classroom. Those are just two examples of assistive tools that aid in a child getting an appropriate education. What may that be for your child? Only you know, but you won’t know what to ask for if you don’t get informed.

Step 3: Organize

Once you have gathered everything the hard work really starts!  You need to get organized, everything must be labeled, divided into sections and tabbed. All paperwork from the school and any emails from the school staff in chronological order.  In addition to all the evidence and research papers, you should add blank sheets of paper for proper note-taking. The key is to have everything they have and more so you are never caught off guard. Remember you can’t argue something you can’t proof ;).

Once organized you will study the binder and the proposed IEP draft. Writing, highlighting, and tabbing anything that you want to discuss. Compare prior IEPs to the draft from the school, (ask the staffing specialist) to assure they are not taking away any services without your consent. Any inconsistencies you will mark, and write on the draft what you want to see happen or how it can be resolved. It won’t make you a professional IEP advocate or anything, but you will know what you want for your child.

Don’t forget to put in a binder and bring everything with you. When you walk in they will take notice, believe me! They will know that you are ready and prepared. Furthermore, when you go prepared you will feel confident and empowered.  The fact that you walked in with all that will make a statement right away. I have received many compliments on my binder, and sometimes I am the one who has to give them what they are looking for! Bam! You just schooled them…

I have two binders, with scripture I colored on the cover of both. Now to the second thing you must do.


The Devil Wears Prada and You Should Too!

The Devil Wears Prada


My wise former boss was big on personal appearance, not just hers but EVERYBODYS! She was Miranda from a Devil Wears Prada, but kinder. In addition to really caring about what people wear, she is a big believer in the psychology behind the book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking. As a psychology major, I had to buy and read the book I knew it was right up my alley.

Have you ever heard or read the book Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking Well, It is about the power of split-second thoughts, that lead to the different conclusion, action, judgment and so on, that people make without really thinking. That is why looking like Miranda in the Devil Wears Prada is key. Despite what we want, the humans will judge based on a personal appearance. It is no exception when it comes to school staff and teachers.(sometime in your child school playground) Just like in a trial when the defendant is dressed in their Sunday best because they need to make a positive impression. Unfortunately, your Sunday best just won’t do, it needs to be more than that it needs to be The Devil Wears Prada best, Miranda best! So here is what Miranda best looks like.

Yes, a red article of clothing that is seen above the waist. Let me tell you since starting this blog all I read is “people are visual” make your blog look good cause “people are visual”.   Well, guess what? It applies to people outside of the blogging world, people that go to meetings, courts, job interview, dates, and so on.

Why red, well according to website Empowered By Color, red is a color that exudes a strong powerful energy, it demands action. Well, I am no expert but that is excatly what you need to portray. Someone once told me that a little red in an interview shows confidence and who does not want a little confidence. That has always stuck with me and now every IEP meeting I make it a point to wear red above my waist.

The combination of red with an outfit that you wear to impress will boost your confidence. When you look good you feel good. You have already equipped yourself with knowledge now add the cherry on top the attitude. In addition, you need to feel confident in the outfit you choose, even feel a little flirty. Why?  for me when I feel good in an outfit and a little flirty I feel powerful and it is tangible. Once you walk in so will the confidence it will fill the room and command its own precedence. There is no way they will see you as a naive parent anymore they will know that you mean business. You will slay like an attorney!

I get it, you may not have or feel comfortable wearing red. But I promise it is worth trying! If you can’t-do the outfit in red, then just make sure you are wearing that one outfit that makes you feel the greatest and confident in. Make the red an accessories to the outfit but one that is visible. A great way to add red is to add it to your lips! Finally, do your hair! It will wrap up the whole look. Nothing crazy, just a simple but nice bun, updo, or lose with style.It will finalize the look that will bring you the I look good, and I will kill it.

Check out my Pinterest Board for more inspiration for makeup and hair.

Only with God

Yup…. the last thing, after all, is prayer!

Before you get dressed in your attorney(Miranda Best) outfit and grab your binder with all your hard work to head out the door you must pray. Ask God to give you the grace to accept whatever the outcome of the meeting turns out to be. Most importantly,  Pray for the staff at the school and over the IEP meeting. You can be the Miranda/Attorney at the IEP meeting but before you must humble yourself to God!

In conclusion, it is important to know what you are walking into when you go for an IEP meeting. Trust me if you follow my tips I promise you will see a positive result. I won’t guarantee it will be exactly what you want or that it won’t take several meeting to come to a consensus. But it will change the way you handle them from now on. Good Luck and God Bless you and your Family.

What about you?

  • Did you find something useful from the article?
  • Do you have any other tips that I or someone else can use?

Like books Check out my book club! Link Here

School & Learning Tab

Understanding Individualized Education Programs

Important Safeguards for You and Your Child

At a Glance: Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE)

How IDEA Protects You and Your Child


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