Sunday, February 3, 2013

Q & A Should I Walk Out of an IEP Meeting?

I can't go into specifics, but I had a huge difficulty in my IEP today and I wanted to walk out early because it was going nowhere. What should I have said? Have you ever left an IEP early for that reason? After hours and hours, I ended up not signing the IEP it and rescheduling for another day.

It's pretty difficult to know how to suggest what you should have said.  Each situation is so different.  I would never suggest walking out of an IEP early, I think you did well to stay.  I always take my IEPs home, unless it is very simple, so that I don't have to worry about what is in the paperwork as I can very clearly see that the goals are what we discussed, the services are what we discussed and the notes are simple and I can take in what it says easily.  I just did that with an IEP that was to discuss an IEE and the district agreed to do exactly what we wanted, we wrote one goal, there was no change in services, and less than half a page of notes.  But that is rare.

I would write out what I wanted to see happen, maybe even send it to the head of Special ed if you think that would help.  If you need an evaluation to back up what you wanted think about that.  Was this a Triannual IEP?  If so you are entitled to an IEE in every area you think should be addressed.  They may try to say you are only entitled to them in areas that they addressed but that isn't true, they should have already addressed all areas of suspected disability and if they didn't then you have the right to an IEE in an area that you suspect now. It is best to include your suspected concerns on the Assessment Plan, but you are not responsible for all of the assessments being on there, they are.  If it wasn't a Triannual then you may need to ask them for evaluations and then get the IEEs after they present you with evaluations because their evaluation had to be within a year.  

I think it is always better to sign for the aspects of the IEP that you agree with (though usually at home), you will also look more reasonable that way should you end up in due process later.  I usually sign for goals and services except that I may disagree with the services being so few maybe in behavioral - so I would say "I agree to implementing the IEP as it is, but I do believe that there should be more behavioral therapy than is being suggested.  I will accept what is current ly being offered but do not agree that it is enough."  Or if they are suggesting reducing or removing services I would say "I do not agree with the reduction in services offered in this IEP.  I would like to request an IEE to confirm if the reduction is reasonable and in the meantime, I would like the district to continue the services as they were presented in the last IEP."  Then I would send a letter requesting the IEE and mention the stay put for services that you have requested.  The cannot legally discontinue services or reduce them now without taking you to due process to prove that they were right.  Most often the district will need to give you the IEE unless they are also prepared to insist that their evaluation was adequate - which then means you would need to get the evaluation and pay for it out of pocket and have the expert show that their evaluation was crap, but that may be a long way out and my never happen, just trying to give you advance warning. 

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