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Back to School...Is it time for a new IEP?

by Stephanie Barry, M.S., CCC-SLP of Independent Speech, LLC.
As summer comes to a close it is time to think about going back to school and for many this means also beginning a new year receiving special education services. Many parents think believe that they have to wait until the annual IEP meeting to bring up concerns or make changes to the current IEP. This is not the case.

"The parents of a child with a disability are expected to be equal participants along with school personnel, in developing, reviewing, and revising the child's IEP. This is an active role in which the parents (1) participate in the discussion about the child's need for special education and related services, and (2) join with the other participants in deciding what services the agency will provide to the child." (taken from

When you feel that your child's IEP needs to be adjusted due to progress they made over summer vacation or if you are concerned about areas that are not explicitly addressed in the current IEP you have the right to call a meeting to discuss your concerns with the IEP team.

Now, it must be stated that there are limitations to the things that can be changed as a child must qualify in the specific area in order to receive services. For example, even though you have concerns about your child's reading skills, if their scores on the evaluation didn't qualify them for services in the area of reading they are not going to receive reading services.

You have the right to voice any and all of your concerns and discuss how these concerns can be addressed. Things written in the IEP can be modified if needed to better reflect your child's current needs and your current concerns. If you have documentation to support your concerns such as a progress report from private speech therapy or a letter from a tutor describing what was worked on over the summer and how the child performed this can help the team determine what modifications should be made as they have more concrete evidence to help make the decision. While the school may not be able to address all of your concerns because of eligibility requirement or programs they offer at the school but they should be open to your ideas and concerns.

The main thing to consider is that everyone is a team member, you may have differing opinion about what is most important and through open communication you can ensure that everyone is on the same page. We all know that the school personnel has your child's best interest at heart but it is important that you be involved.

Stephanie Barry, M.S., CCC-SLP
Speech-Language Pathologist and Educational Consultant
Tel: 602-793-2958

Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.


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