The IEP Process

I’ve just completed a chapter in my book called “Navigating the public schools:  How to work with them and not against them”.  This took me back to a challenging time in our lives.  I recall learning quickly that it was in Jacob’s best interest to approach the schools as a team member.  Decisions were made by a group of people and I knew that I had to be part of that team.  Going through some old files I found a few documents that were incredibly helpful during the IEP and team meetings.  I have shared them below for anyone interested.

Parents are key members of the IEP team.

Typically, we know our children best—not just their strengths and  weaknesses, but all the little qualities that make them unique.  A parents’ knowledge can keep a team focused on the “big picture”.

 We can provide information regarding our child’s interests, likes and dislikes, and learning styles.  We may not have all the answers, but we know what works and doesn’t work at home and in the community.

Listen to what other team members think your child needs to work on at school. They see your kids in a very different environment than you do.

Continue open dialog with the teacher to report on whether the skills the child is learning at school are being used at home.

By being an active IEP team member, we can also infuse the process with thought about long-term needs for our child’s success in later years. Your voice and vision, is your child’s future.


What is an IEP?

Once it is determined that your child meets the criteria to receive special education or related services, an IEP will be developed, this is a written statement or description of what will be done to help

The IEP will change based on the student’s needs.  It is a dynamic plan that is meant to be reviewed and revised when necessary.

IEP Timelines

-IEP must occur within 60 days after referral to determine eligibility (evaluations, observations, testing)

-If eligible, the meeting must occur within 30 days of that decision date days

Review of IEP must occur at least once a year, however meetings can occur at anytime to discuss changes and revisions

Every 3 years there is an eligibility review that would require another evaluation

-You should receive IEP goal progress reports along with report cards and progress updates like all other parents in your school community

-Try not to be nervous or intimidated going into these meetings.  Your voice is your child’s future


Dear Teachers and Support Staff:

Jacob Kaplan is a new Kindergartener at XXX and is a student in Miss XXX’s class.  Jacob has Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) which is a very high functioning form of Autism.  He is independent  and in most cases, Jacob will blend in with his classmates completely.  However, there are isolated moments that Jacob may become frustrated or not understand a social situation and we want to provide you with some information that may be helpful.

– The use of “First, Then”

– Visual timer

– Advance warning that an activity will end (possibly a countdown)

-Breakdown directions in simple steps


-Checking for comprehension and repetition

-Eye contact when giving directions

-Strict, concrete language

-Taking breaks due to low frustration tolerance

-Give choices when appropriate

-Warning that loud noises may occur (music class, fire drill)

Please contact us with any questions, comments or concerns.  We want to be the best resource to help ensure a successful year for all involved.  I have included a resource page about PDD-NOS for your review.

Thank you for your support,

Beth Kaplan

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