tips for the IEP team

Students who have been prepared for meaningful participation can be valuable members of the IEP team.

The IEP team must design an IEP that ensures that the student will be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum and it must do so by addressing the student’s education and education-related needs.

You and your colleagues must identify the supplementary needs to be involved and make progress in the general education curriculum.

Work collaboratively to develop goals and objectives that will advance equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency.


The IEP should address a student’s academic, emotional and social needs.

IDEA allows placement across several settings, but students should be educated in the general education classroom and will participate in extracurricular and other school activities with their non-disabled peers.

The results of nondiscriminatory evaluations should be summarized and serve as the basis of planning each student’s individualized program.

Some students who do not qualify for coverage under IDEA do qualify under Section 504.


You may be involved in developing a 504 plan for these students rather than an IEP.

Develop a discipline plan for students who needs one, and you make the plan culturally appropriate.

You must comply with IDEA by communicating with students’ parents in their preferred language, which may be their native language.

When school social workers and school counselors are members of the IEP team, you can partner with them to identify how schools can reduce the educational challenges facing students experiencing poverty.



Remember: differentiated instruction is a good strategy for all students, not just students with learning disabilities.

Collaboratively developing the IEP provides an excellent context for building a trusting partnership with families.


Let parents know about the resources of the parent training and information center in your state. Encourage them to get information from the center about IEP conferences.

As you develop a partnership, ask the family member who is most accessible to you whether there are other family members whom they want you to include as partners in IEP development and implementation.



Be sure to ask the student’s parents if they want suggestions about how to help the student with homework. Don’t presume that they do or do not provide that assistance.

Teachers have opportunities at IEP conferences to learn more about the nature of different assessments and to have questions answered about how assessment links to classroom instruction.

Unless everyone on a student's IEP team has heard the student try to communicate, team members would be wise to observe him or her before drafting the IEP.
As helpful as school-based assessment is, the IEP team should also consider conducting home- and community-based assessments to gain a thorough understanding of how the student communicates.
The IEP team will want the student to learn strategies and use augmented communication systems that will allow him or her to communicate with teachers, family, and peers at school.


The IEP should specify that every professional who works with a student who uses an AAC or other device should learn how to operate the AAC or other device.

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During IEP meetings, you should address the specific strengths of students who experience depression in order to ensure a positive school environment.
Complex behaviors and problems often require complex solutions. It's likely that no single intervention will be sufficient for students with EBD, so you and your colleagues on the IEP team should use multicomponent interventions.


If a student is prone to conflict, you should make sure that the student's IEP includes strategies to teach the student social problem-solving and anger management skills.


The IEP document should address needs and strengths related to behavioral, social, and emotional characteristics, as well as academic needs.

The IEP document should address needs and strengths related to behavioral, social, and emotional characteristics, as well as academic needs.
Similar to IEP meetings, 504 planning meetings are very helpful in terms of preparing teachers to provide appropriate accommodations.


The IEP team should remember that, in most cases, medication alone is insufficient to effectively change behavior. In addition to medication, students with ADHD need instruction on how to self-regulate their actions and learn more effectively as well as how to set and attain goals.
When you and your colleagues develop an IEP for a student with an intellectual disability, you will want to consider carefully her home and community environments and teach skills that enable the student to be effective in them. This is because the student needs to generalize the school curriculum to her home and community environments and to adapt to them. To know about those environments, you need to learn from the student's parents; their participation in the IEP conferences is essential.
When there is an obvious connection - or even a suspicion of a connection - between the student's intellectual and adaptive functioning and risk factors such as inadequate nutrition, health care, and rest, you and related service providers (such as a school social worker) should connect the student's family to appropriate school and community resources.
Although involving adult support providers, such as potential employers, in transition planning is a good idea at any time during secondary education, it is especially important for students ages sixteen through twenty-one so that their community-based instruction curriculum becomes embedded in their community.
Under IDEA, a student's IEP team must consider using positive behavior intervention and support if the student's behavior impedes his or her or others' learning.
IDEA requires that the IEP team conduct a functional behavioral assessment and implement a behavior intervention plan.
SWPBS requires the IEP teams for all students receiving positive behavioral supports to collect data about each student, using tools such as the SET and the BoQ, and then to determine how to improve the delivery of positive behavioral supports to each IEP-based student and indeed to other students as well.