Draft IEP’s For Your Child in Special Education – Tips on Using Them to Help Your Child

Are you the parent of a child that has autism, and is receiving
special education services? Are you a parent that would like to
understand Draft individual education plans (IEP), and how you
can use them to benefit your child. This article will help you learn about
Draft IEP’s, what the requirements are, and how to use them to
help your child’s education.

A draft IEP is an individual education plan that is filled out in
advance, of the IEP meeting, for your child. Many parents wonder
if it is legal for special education personnel to do this. The Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), is silent on draft IEP’s.

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), which is part of the
Department of Education stated in the Federal Register Vol 71 August
12, 2006 “We do not encourage public agencies to prepare a draft IEP
prior to the IEP team meeting. . .”

So, draft IEP’s are not illegal, but are discouraged by OSEP. The
Federal Register also states “. . .if a public agency develops a draft
IEP prior to the IEP meeting, the agency should make it clear to the
parents at the outset of the meeting, that the services proposed by
the agency are preliminary recommendations for review and discussion
with parents.” Special education personnel rarely state this, at the
beginning of a meeting, so you may have to bring it up. The Federal
Register goes on to say “It is not permissible for an agency to have
the final IEP completed before an IEP Team meeting begins.”

The Federal Register comments from OSEP also state “The public
agency also should provide the parents with a copy of its draft
proposals if the agency has developed them, prior to the IEP
meeting. . .” You should request this in writing, and I would
also quote the comments from the Federal Register. The
request should include timelines; for Example “I will expect
to receive a copy of the Draft IEP at the same time as my
10 day written notice of the IEP meeting.”

The Federal Register also has OSEP stating “so as to give the
parents an opportunity to review the recommendations of the public
agency prior to the IEP team meeting, and be better able to engage in
a full discussion of the proposals for the IEP.”

One way to use Draft IEP’s to help your child, is to develop your own
draft IEP. Go to your state board of education’s Website, go to
special education and then download an IEP form (Most states have an
IEP form available for downloading). Fill out the form, with everything
that you believe your child needs.

Take the form with you to your child’s IEP meeting, and cross out each
section as it is discussed. This will allow you to not only be an
active participant in your child’s IEP, but also to have your input
heard. Also, special education personnel cannot leave out important
parts of the IEP, as they do on occasion. Also by having your own
Draft IEP filled out, you can advocate for your child when special
education personnel want to change or decrease their educational
services.

You can use Draft IEP’s to help your child. By requesting the school’s
Draft IEP in advance, you will be able to be an active participant in
the IEP process. By bringing your own Draft IEP, you can have your
opinions heard. Good luck!

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