Parents of children with special needs are important members of the team that crafts and implements the child’s individualized education program (IEP). And they are important members at that, since they know their child and understand their needs best.
However, parents are not alone on the IEP team. It is critical that they know who else they will be working with on a regular basis and in IEP meetings to ensure their child obtains the best possible education.
Who makes up the child’s IEP team?
Aside from parents, the IEP team will also include:
- The child’s teacher from their general classroom
- A special education teacher at the child’s school
- A representative from the school district
- A psychologist or another specialist
- Other professionals who know the child well
According to the U.S. Department of Education, all of these individuals will work together to create the IEP.
There are a few things parents should note
When parents first start working with this team – whether their child is just beginning to receive special education services, or they are transitioning from elementary school to middle school – there are a few things that parents should do:
- Obtain every member’s contact information
- Make a plan for regular check-ins with the team
- Understand their backgrounds and training
- Get information about their roles in the IEP implementation
- Take time to understand their own role on the team
IEP meetings must be held annually, but that does not mean that parents cannot keep in contact with the members of their child’s IEP team throughout the year. Collaboration with the team can help parents keep track of and reinforce their child’s IEP goals and their progress.
Can the child be a part of the IEP team?
Many California parents wonder if they can involve their children in these meetings. After all, it is their child’s education.
While children are not usually an official member of the IEP team, they do have the right to attend IEP meetings at any point. When they turn 14, the IEP team must formally invite the child to the meetings that determine their goals, as well as the strategies to achieve them.
This team is essential to help tailor the learning experience and create a supportive environment throughout the child’s schooling. And parents should establish a connection with this team they are a part of, so they can help provide their child with the education they need.