Do Not Sign The IEP

by beagooddad on May 21, 2009

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Our IEP meeting for Pookie has come and gone. We still don’t have any idea what school or even what kind of class he is going to be in next year. Our school district kind of sucks at getting that kind of information out since they generally have no idea as a district what they are planning to do until late in the summer.

Anyway, I’ve been reading about other people’s experiences with their own IEP meetings.

It seems that a common thread of IEP meetings is that parents leave the meetings wishing they had said more or asked for more or demanded more.

I have felt like that myself after each IEP meeting that I’ve ever been to.

The reason for this feeling is that the meeting ends with them passing the IEP around and getting everybody to sign off on it. All of the administrators, teachers, aides and parents. And once you sign off, you are fairly set in stone unless you really start to get funky with addendums and such.

It really does have the feel of trying to buy a new car at times. “What can we do to get you into this IEP today?”

One of the things that I have learned in the last couple months (or been reminded – it seems like I knew it at one point) is that there is no requirement for the parents to actually sign the IEP right then and there. Actually, signing it then and there is pretty stupid because you really don’t have time to read it over and properly process everything it contains.

Since the IEP determines exactly what educational plans and assistance your child will get for the following year, it is pretty important to get it right. The school has plenty of time to prepare the document before the meeting but then the IEP meeting only gives the parents about one hour to go over everything. That is a major disadvantage for the parents and a major advantage for the school district that might be trying to squeeze a few dollars out of their budget.

From now on, I’m going into each IEP meeting with the plan that I will not be signing the document until I get the chance to take it home and pick it apart for a day or two in the privacy of my own world.

I’m not one for starting big internet groups to “Fight for the…” or “Fight against the…” but I think a “Don’t Sign The IEP” campaign would be a great one to get started (even though it probably already exists – you can find everything on this internet). It just needs a catchier name and some banners.

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