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Understanding Your Child's Strengths and Needs: How to Prepare for the IEP Meeting

This post is part 3 of a 5 part series about IEP Basics. Click here to read part 1 or part 2


Preparing for an Individualized Education Program (IEP) meeting can be overwhelming, especially if it's your first time participating in the process. One of the key ways to prepare is to have a clear understanding of your child's strengths, needs, and goals. This information will help you communicate effectively with the IEP team and advocate for your child's needs.

Here are some tips and strategies for gathering this information and preparing for the IEP meeting:

  • Gather input from teachers and therapists: Teachers and therapists who work with your child on a regular basis can provide valuable insight into your child's strengths, needs, and goals. Consider asking for written input or meeting with them beforehand to discuss your child's progress and any concerns you may have.

  • Create a list of concerns or goals: It's helpful to have a written list of your child's strengths, needs, and goals to share with the IEP team. This can include any academic, social-emotional, or behavioral concerns you may have, as well as any goals you have for your child's development.

  • Gather supporting documentation: It may be helpful to bring any relevant supporting documentation to the IEP meeting, such as evaluation reports, progress reports, or other relevant records. This can help the IEP team better understand your child's needs and develop a more tailored plan.

  • Consider bringing an advocate: If you feel overwhelmed or unsure of how to advocate for your child's needs, you may want to consider bringing an advocate to the IEP meeting. This can be a friend, family member, or professional advocate who can provide support and guidance during the process.




By gathering this information and being prepared for the IEP meeting, you can effectively communicate your child's strengths, needs, and goals to the IEP team and advocate for their needs. With a clear understanding of your child's unique strengths and needs, the IEP team can work together to develop a plan that meets those needs and helps your child succeed in school.


Check out part 4 of the IEP Basics series: "Navigating the IEP Meeting: Tips and Strategies for Parents"


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