Article review by Jennifer Goodman
“Six Tips for Successful IEP Meetings: Behavior Intervention for Students with Externalizing Behavior Problems TEC 44(4), 30-37.
Six Tips for Successful IEP Meetings
“The IEP is the curriculum road map for special education services developed by a team of individuals who are critical to the student’s educational success.”
The biggest issue in this article concerning IEP meetings is communication. In order for families and their children to be successful, open communication among the team (teachers, therapists, families, and children) is crucial. Everyone is working towards the same goal and the easiest way to get there is to communicate. Other ideas shared in this article gave great ways to break communication barriers and involve the members of the IEP together as a whole.
First, pre-meeting planning sets the tone of the meeting before the meeting even actually occurs. This involves all members of the IEP team sharing ideas with each other. Nothing is written down or developed for the IEP yet, but members know and are aware of the concerns of other team members and can begin looking for answers. Next, meeting facilitator and agenda are great ways to keep the team on track and addressing every area of importance/concern with one another. Sometimes it is easy to get hung up on one idea and loose time or forget about another topic in the process. These techniques can help teams stay focused.
Ground rules, essential knowledge, and jargon all fit together as techniques to remember for the parents’ sake more than anything. We want to reflect as a team why we are here and who we are here for. We want to set “rules” to keep us on track and to remind us how to create the best IEP we can. Also, teams (especially teachers, therapists, etc.) need to keep in mind that most parents are not familiar with laws, rules and, terms associated with an IEP. Starting a meeting off with this information or remembering to be specific in our explanations as we go through to meeting is important. Parents can get frustrated or feel completely left out if other team members do not take the time to educate them appropriately.
Often times, we forget that we are a part of a team instead of just one of team members. We forget to include parents and other team members in our decisions and concerns. In order for a child to be academically, socially, and physically successful in school IEP team members need to work together towards the same goals. I think all of these ideas can really improve the quality of an IEP meeting. These ideas are not difficult to implement and do not take up all of our time, yet they can make a world of difference when sitting down to write the IEP. A team is not a team until they work together to accomplish something. And isn’t that what we are trying to do?