Consider private placement options

If all else fails, or you think a private placement option would be appropriate for your child’s needs, then it’s time to consider one. A local educational advocate or lawyer, or other parents, should know about local options for you to investigate.

File due process

Parents and local education agency/school district (LEAs) can use due process to resolve their IEP disputes. If the parents and LEA cannot agree regarding an IEP-related dispute, the parents may and/or the LEA (in many cases) can choose to file a due process complaint and ask a hearing officer (administrative law judge) to resolve the […]

Hire a lawyer or advocate

Educational law can be confusing and Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings can be emotional. Even if you know the law, you want to be there as a parent, dealing with your child’s needs, especially if you disagree with all or part of placement or services. Unfortunately, not all schools operate in the child’s best interest […]

Don’t agree with placement or services offers? Don’t sign IEP!

Once Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals are established, the local education agency/school district (LEA) must make a placement and related services offer. Your consent is required. An IEP is never “all or nothing” a parent can consent to the parts of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) she feels are appropriate and not consent to those […]

Follow through

Have quarterly reviews of your child’s progress on the Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals. If not meeting benchmarks, call a new meeting. Know your rights about when you can call meetings and how long the school has to make sure it’s held.


Discuss and document parent-staff communication in detail. Frequency, data. Don’t settle for “a good day”. Use these free templates to create easy-to-use daily communications between staff and home. It also helps you track how many sessions are missed, so they can be made up, and what Individualized Education Program (IEP) goals were worked on, in […]

Discuss what accommodations your child will need

Discuss what accommodations your child will need to fully participate in the placement and services agreed to. Put it in writing! If it’s not in writing in the Individualized Education Program (IEP), it doesn’t exist. It must be documented.

Services Offers

Services offers can include Speech Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Adapted PE, Physical Therapy, Resource Room, psychological services, aides, and more. The services offered need to be based on goals. Make sure the Individualized Education Program (IEP) documents level, frequency, setting and duration of each service. For instance, speech therapy in a group of 10 children inside […]

Placement Offer

Goals must be created before placement can be discussed. Placements are to be individualized to your child’s needs, NOT the school’s available programs. Does the placement offer meet Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)? If Not, reject the offer. If yes, move on to services.

Create measurable goals

Write only goals that are able to be measured, never vague. Who measures, how and when? Goals drive placement and services. Make sure there is at least one for every area of need.

Discuss the developmentally appropriate steps.

Discuss the developmentally appropriate steps to get your child from where he is to where he should be compared to his peers. Knowing where your child is (Point A) and where he should be compared to peers (Point B) will lead you to the creation of goals to lead your child where he needs to […]

Discuss evaluations

Discuss evaluations: Discuss your child’s current educational levels. The Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, which includes the parents, needs to know your child’s current levels of performance before you can make a path forward.

IEP Meeting

Never go alone, always tape record, never sign IEP at first meeting. The Individualized Education Program, also called the IEP, is a document that is developed for each public school child who needs special education. The IEP is created through a team effort, but it can be overwhelming for parents, especially if the school isn’t […]

Parent must receive evaluation reports

Parent must receive evaluation reports prior to Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting. While there is no stated timeline in IDEA, it is important that parents have the information they need to participate meaningfully in IEP Team meetings, which includes reviewing their child’s records. “Section 300.613(a) requires a public agency to comply with a parent request […]

Child enters school system

Child enters school system: via Child Find, Early Intervention, Regional Center, parent referral or regular enrollment. Children with special needs can enter the school system on their third birthday. There are a few ways to be referred such as Child Find, Early Intervention, Regional Centers (in California) or by the parents. Or the parents may […]