Special Education Sample Letter #4
In this blog post, we will discuss the importance of parents requesting a draft copy of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) document prior to the Admission Review and Dismissal (ARD) meeting. As a parent of a child in special education, it is important that you are involved in your child’s ARD process and understand the goals that are being set for your child’s education. Requesting a draft copy of the IEP document and any assessment, report, data chart, or other document the team plans to discuss at the meeting prior to the ARD meeting is an effective way to ensure that you are well-prepared and informed during the meeting.
Why Request a Draft Copy of the IEP Document?
Requesting a draft copy of the IEP document prior to the ARD meeting allows you to review the document in advance and ask questions or make suggestions before the meeting. This is especially helpful if you are not familiar with the ARD process or if your child’s needs have changed since the last ARD meeting. By having a draft copy of the IEP document in advance, you can take the time to read through it and make notes or ask questions about any areas that you do not understand.
The Letter: How to Request a Draft Copy of the IEP Document
Requesting a draft copy of the IEP document is a simple process. You can request the document from your child’s case manager or special education teacher. It is important to make the request in writing and keep a copy of the request for your records.
Next Steps: What if The School Refuses to Provide a Draft Copy of the IEP Document
It is discouraged by IDEA 2004 to use draft IEP documents as it may convey a message that parental input and concerns are not given importance. In addition, there are concerns that some parents do not realize that the document provided prior to the ARD meeting is a draft and that changes can be made at the ARD meeting based on parental input.
The U.S. Department of Education in the commentary (a guide or rationale behind the regulations or changes in the regulations) had the following to say about draft IEP documents:
“With respect to a draft IEP, we encourage public agency staff to come to an IEP Team meeting prepared to discuss evaluation findings and preliminary recommendations. Likewise, parents have the right to bring questions, concerns, and preliminary recommendations to the IEP Team meeting as part of a full discussion of the child’s needs and the services to be provided to meet those needs. We do not encourage public agencies to prepare a draft IEP prior to the IEP Team meeting, particularly if doing so would inhibit a full discussion of the child’s needs. However, if a public agency develops a draft IEP prior to the IEP Team 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 the parents. 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 Team meeting 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. It is not permissible for an agency to have the final IEP completed before an IEP Team meeting begins.”1Federal Register, Volume 71, pages 46540-46845, published on August 14, 2006
If the school refuses to provide you with a draft copy of the IEP document, you can respond by requesting them to provide a draft copy of the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP), proposed goals and objectives, proposed list of accommodations, and an updated IEP progress report. It is important to state that you need to review this information before the ARD meeting so that you can participate meaningfully in the development of your child’s IEP. Be sure to put this request in writing to ensure that there is a record of your communication.
Next Steps: What to Look For in the Draft Copy of the IEP Document
When reviewing the draft copy of the IEP document, it is important to pay attention to the goals and objectives that are being proposed for your child. Make sure that the goals are specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Also, make sure that the goals align with your child’s current needs and abilities as outlined in the PLAAFP section of the draft copy of the IEP document. If you have any concerns or questions about the goals, be sure to bring them up during the IEP meeting.
In addition to the goals, you should also review the accommodations and modifications that are being proposed for your child. Make sure that the accommodations and modifications are appropriate and will help your child to succeed in the classroom. If you have any suggestions for additional accommodations or modifications, be sure to bring them up during the IEP meeting.
In our upcoming blog posts, we will discuss how to create a Parent Agenda for the ARD meeting and the components of the IEP document.
If you need assistance in the ARD process or have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to me.
- You can read this text in page 46678 of the Federal Register ↩︎