One of the best ways to share your concerns at an IEP meeting is by communicating openly and honestly. Write your concerns down on paper and make sure they make sense. Consider sharing your concerns prior to the IEP meeting with the case manager, so the team can begin to proactively think about how to best address them.
My mother always told me that it is about the presentation. Be thoughtful, ask questions and genuinely listen for answers. Don’t attack and avoid “you” statements. Instead stick with “I” statements. Speak with intention and don’t get offended if someone disagrees with you. It is not about winning, it is about being heard and having your concerns addressed.
Now, that all that has been said, let me share how I would address a concern. If my concern was with academic progress, I would gather student work samples, progress to goals, and current grades. I would request an IEP meeting in writing stating that I was worried that my son/daughter was not making progress academically based on the work samples that were coming home.
Once the meeting was held, I would present my evidence and ask for input from the team. I would be prepared with specific questions and even probing types of questions as to what other resources might be available. Staying calm throughout the process will allow the team to best see my point of view.
Creating a unified perspective will go a long way towards the common goal which is what is best for the child and his/her education. In order to create this common perspective, a common language must be agreed upon. Ask team members to define vocabulary that you don’t understand. Remember to stay calm and don’t allow your emotions to become heated. There may be some defensiveness from one, or all members of the meeting. It is perfectly acceptable to question, reflect, pause, and clarify, in order to ensure that a unified perspective is being developed.
If you feel that your concerns are not being heard, send us your story and let us help.