PARENT TIPS FOR VIRTUAL IEP MEETINGS


 EXPECT A PHONE CALL

 Do not be alarmed if your child's school or Special Education Teacher calls you. If your child’s annual or initial IEP meeting is scheduled during this time, your school should notify you of the meeting date by letter, email, or phone AT LEAST 5 days in advance. You have the right to request a new date for the IEP meeting if you have a conflict. The date and time for IEP meetings must be mutually convenient for both you and the school! If you have recently changed your home address, phone number, and/or email address, be sure to let your school know ASAP. If your school does not have accurate contact information, they will not be able to reach you. 


THINGS WILL BE DIFFERENT… DIFFERENT DOES NOT MEAN BAD! 

While ALL requirements for the IEP process are still in place, the IDEA provides flexibility in how schools can meet those requirements; i.e. to ensure IEP meetings are held within the appropriate timeline, all meetings will be held via phone or video call only. A school’s ability to provide alternative methods of meeting participation, and other alternative measures, are not new and were not created as a result of our current situation- but it feels new… to everyone! Work with your school to decide the best way to hold your meeting (phone call, Skype, Zoom, etc.) and keep an open mind! 


WHAT WILL YOUR IEP MEETING BE LIKE? 

It will be just like every other IEP meeting you’ve attended… except instead of sitting around a giant (or sometimes way too small) table, everyone participating in the meeting will be attending virtually from their own home. That’s it- everything else should remain the same! The same people are required to attend, the same paperwork should be provided to you (ahead of time) so you can review it before the meeting. If your child’s meeting is coming up soon, but you have not received any paperwork from the school, you’ll have to contact them BEFORE the day of your meeting to request copies of everything that will be reviewed during the meeting. Get ready for your IEP meeting as if it was any other IEP meeting you’ve attended in the past. 


BEFORE THE MEETING 

Practice voice and video calls with friends or family using Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. before your IEP meeting so are familiar with the technology and how it works. Learn how to join a call, mute/unmute yourself, turn your camera on/off, and set up your screen so you can view the meeting participants however you want. There are so many options and settings- play around with the technology so when it’s time for your meeting, you feel comfortable and confident! 


THE DAY OF THE MEETING! 

Make sure your phone or device is fully charged and you have good cell service and/or wifi connection! Find a quiet and comfortable space, have a prepared list of your questions and concerns, get ready for the camera (if you’re doing a video call), and be open to this new adventure- remember- it’s new for EVERYONE! If you’re doing a video call, ask for the Draft IEP to be presented on the screen so you can follow along. Remember, if you need help assisting your child during this time, you can request Parent Training be provided on the IEP to address your current needs. 


AFTER THE IEP MEETING Within 48 hours after your meeting, write a letter or an email to your CSE Chairperson. Your letter should include a summary of the meeting discussion, your understanding of the recommendation for your child’s IEP, and your contact information if the CSE Chairperson or your child’s teacher would like to contact you further. You can also ask when to expect a copy of the finalized IEP! 


NEED HELP? Contact the Long Island Advocacy Center In Nassau County, call (516) 248-2222x10 In Suffolk County, call (631-234-0467 x10. Or visit our website: www.theliac.org to fill out an online intake!