Special needs parenting

5 Essential Tips for Preparing for Your Next IEP Meeting

Jun 12, 2023

As a parent or caregiver of a child with special needs, attending an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting can be overwhelming and stressful. The IEP meeting is a crucial part of the special education process, where parents, educators, and other professionals come together to develop an individualized plan for the student’s academic and personal goals.

Preparing for your next IEP meeting is essential to ensure that you are well-informed, confident, and able to advocate for your child effectively. In this how-to guide, we will provide you with five essential tips on how to prepare for your next IEP meeting successfully.

TIP 1: Review Your Child’s Current IEP

The first step in preparing for your next IEP meeting is to review your child’s current IEP. The current IEP serves as the foundation for developing the new plan. It is essential to understand what accommodations and modifications are currently in place and whether they are effective in helping your child achieve their goals.

Take the time to read through the entire document carefully. Pay attention to the goals and objectives outlined in the IEP. Are they still relevant? Are they achievable? Are there any areas that need improvement?

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s current IEP, reach out to their teacher or case manager before the meeting. Clarifying any doubts beforehand can help make the meeting more productive.

TIP 2: Gather Information About Your Child

Preparing for an IEP meeting involves gathering information about your child’s strengths, weaknesses, progress monitoring data, evaluation reports, assessment results, medical history, and anything else that can help inform their educational plan.

You know your child best; therefore, it is essential to provide as much information as possible about them during the meeting. Compile a list of your child’s strengths and weaknesses, including any specific interests or hobbies they may have.

Also, bring any recent progress monitoring data or assessment results that you have received from your child’s school or healthcare provider. These reports can help inform the IEP team about your child’s current academic and personal goals.

TIP 3: Develop a List of Accommodations and Modifications

Accommodations and modifications are essential components of an IEP as they provide students with the necessary support to achieve their goals. Accommodations are changes made to the learning environment or curriculum to help students access the general education curriculum effectively. Modifications, on the other hand, involve changes made to the curriculum itself.

Develop a list of accommodations and modifications that you believe could benefit your child during their academic journey. These could include assistive technology, preferential seating, extended time for tests, graphic organizers, or additional breaks during class.

Be prepared to discuss why each accommodation or modification is necessary for your child and how it can help them succeed in school.

TIP 4: Involve Your Child in the Process

Involving your child in the IEP process is crucial as it helps them understand their strengths, weaknesses, and goals. It also teaches them self-advocacy skills that will serve them well throughout their academic journey.

Before the meeting, sit down with your child and explain what an IEP meeting is and why it is essential. Ask them about their goals for the upcoming school year and how they believe they can achieve them.

During the meeting, encourage your child to participate by asking questions or sharing their thoughts on specific topics. Their input can provide valuable insights into what accommodations or modifications may work best for them.

TIP 5: Be Prepared to Advocate for Your Child

As a parent or caregiver, you are your child’s biggest advocate. It is essential to be prepared to advocate for your child during the IEP meeting. This involves being knowledgeable about their strengths, weaknesses, and goals and being able to communicate effectively with the IEP team.

Be assertive but respectful when expressing your concerns or ideas. Remember that you and the IEP team share a common goal of helping your child succeed academically and personally.

If you feel overwhelmed or unsure during the meeting, take a deep breath and ask for clarification or additional information. It is okay not to have all the answers; the IEP team is there to help guide you through the process.


Preparing for an IEP meeting can be challenging, but it is essential to ensure that your child receives the necessary support they need to succeed academically and personally. By following these five essential tips, you can feel more confident and informed during the IEP meeting process.

Remember to review your child’s current IEP, gather information about your child, develop a list of accommodations and modifications, involve your child in the process, and be prepared to advocate for your child. By working together with the IEP team, you can help create an individualized plan that meets your child’s unique needs.