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Rochelle’s Special Education Tips

A Cure For Insomnia Is Not Necessarily The Best Way To Review A Draft IEP

We have gotten away from having assessment reports read word for word at IEP team meetings. The reports are received ahead of time by the parents and presumably made available to school system IEP team members prior to the meeting. So all you need to do is to summarize the findings, answer questions, and review, discuss, and consider the recommendations. The same approach needs to be taken for the review of the draft IEP. There is absolutely no need to read each page, word for word, unless the parent is illiterate or asks you to read the entire document. When you read the draft IEP aloud, what the listener hears is a monotone recitation of a legal document. Indeed, if you stopped and asked someone to summarize what was just read aloud, chances are no one could tell you. So the recitation becomes meaningless, instead of meaningful. Have you ever watched the heavy eyes of people around the table at such meetings? Instead, go page by page, and ask if there are any questions about the draft language. Highlight what needs to be highlighted. Explain what needs to be explained or modified. This is not to say that you should not have healthy discussion or debate. But no useful purpose is served by reading every word aloud. Your PWN should note, though, that the IEP team reviewed the entire draft IEP.

By the way, do not unduly stress if you have not had a chance to complete a draft IEP. There is no requirement that a draft IEP be provided. You can create an IEP from scratch at an IEP team meeting. That is not best practice, but it is a legal practice.  The only rule is that if you are going to be reviewing a draft IEP, you have to provide it to the parents prior to the IEP meeting. If you only have a few pages completed, send those home, but with an explanation that it is a partial draft.

Rochelle’s Special Education Tips (“Tips”) Are Designed To Be Helpful And Thought Provoking, But Should Not Be Considered Legal Advice As They May Not Be Accurate For Use In All Situations. Tips Are Based On My Opinions And Positions In Accordance With Federal And Maryland Law And My Over 35 Years Of Experience In The Special Education Legal Field. – Rochelle S. Eisenberg, Esquire
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