IEP – Special Education: Tips & Links


Check list of items to remember:

  • Audiotape every IEP meeting (with district or regional center)
    • School district needs to know in writing 24 hours prior to meeting
    • Note: Even when your attorney tapes a meeting – you should also tape each meeting. Tape players fail!
  • Do all communication in writing (if verbal, follow up in writing)
    • If you fax the communication – save the confirmation sheet
    • If you mail the communication – send the mail requiring a return receipt confirmation via registered/certified mail.
  • Bring all necessary individuals to IEPs: For example, the clinic supervisor, speech pathologist, occupational therapist, aides – anyone that has valuable input and needs to be part of the IEP team.
  • Talk with other parents (similar age & needs/similar schools or in your district)
    • Go to support groups to meet parents in your district
    • Start a support group just for your school district (gain support from the district, this is part of the Lanterman Act.)
  • Get outside evaluations – do not rely on the school district or regional center to evaluate your child for their needs! They are part of the process – not the entire process!
    • Typically parents get outside evaluations for some or all of the following issues or professionals; behavioral issues, ABA or Floortime clinical supervisors, speech, occupational / physical therapy, sensory, child psychologists or child neuropsychologist.
    • Note: Visit the Provider Directory. Many of these providers have a waiting list for services but MAY have availability for an independent evaluation. Make sure to specify your child's needs properly in your message that you are looking for an outside evaluation.
  • Share evaluations with your school district. Fax and mail these evaluations at least one week prior to meeting so that they have time to review these evaluations.
  • Come to your IEP meetings prepared! Have goals and objectives reviewed for your child prior to the meeting!
    • Be ready to discuss the importance of the goals and objectives as it relates to your child. Have the appropriate team members there to discuss these items.
  • Write all needs into IEP including a GFCF Diet!!
  • Understand how progress reporting is done on your child
    • If they do not meet your needs, state that in your IEP and reiterate/emphasize what your needs are!
  • You, the parent, are an important team member on the IEP TEAM! Make your opinions, recommendations and feelings KNOWN.
  • When considering Fair Hearing – consult an attorney about the viability of case.
  • Have the attorney create/discuss a budget for a fair hearing including expert witnesses and all other costs.
  • When going through a hearing, evaluate what your family will settle for. In settling points, please consider:
    • Amount of services
    • Amount of reimbursement (be sure to include attorney’s/advocate fees, expert witness fees, and other expenses.)
    • Non-fee based contract items, including but not limited to:
      • Level of services
      • Who can provide services
      • What times services can be done
      • Reimbursement timelines in writing!
      • What documentation is required for reimbursement? (e.g. copies of invoices, canceled checks.)
      • Aides' qualifications and transference rules for aides
      • Other items such as: assistive technologies, transportation fees, type of transportation, etc.
      • How can make-up hours for missed sessions be made up?
      • Specify year round services (as opposed to extended year services which normally just extend to the end of July with no services in August!) There needs to be enough services so there are no regression of skills.
      • What are your bottom line needs? (i.e., what will be covered via school district, regional center, health insurance? Look at the complete package of providers and be specific as to what you need from all of them.)
  • You are your child’s best advocate – not the state agency/school district.



Best Books on the IEP/Special Education Process

The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Ed. Child, Lawrence Siegel, 2009, 6th revision.

AUTISM: Asserting Your Child's Right to a Special Education, by David A. Sherman, 2007.

Web Site with Testing Information

Stoelting is a web site with all of the standardized tests done on special needs kids. Review these testing guidelines with each professional reviewing your child’s case.

California Resources

School District & IDEA Law

Inclusion in Typical Education Environments

DISCLAIMERS: When it comes to matter of the law and policy – please consult an attorney or advocate on your child’s behalf. This information represent advice from parents DO NOT USE THIS INFORMATION AS LEGAL ADVICE! CONSULT WITH AN ATTORNEY ON YOUR SITUATION!

Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) provides general information of interest to the autism community. The information comes from a variety of sources, and Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) does not independently verify any of it. The views expressed herein are not necessarily TACA's.