Every parent who attends an IEP meeting is simply looking to obtain an educational placement that is appropriate for their child, and will allow their child to make substantive progress throughout the school year. However, the IEP process can also be very stressful and confusing. What all parents should be aware of in preparing for an IEP meeting, is that the burden is on the school district to provide a Free and Appropriate Public Education ("FAPE") for all children. Not only must the educational placement be appropriate, but it also must be qualify as a clear written offer of placement. (Union Sch. Dist, v Smith, (9th Cir. 1994), 15 F.3d 1519.)
With this in mind, do not be afraid to voice your opinion regarding your child's educational plan. If there is something which has not been clearly explained during the IEP meeting, or has not been clearly written within your child's IEP, simply ask for clarification. Additionally, if you do not feel that the offer of FAPE will allow for your child to make substantive progress throughout the school year, you are not required to sign the IEP. Parents should not feel pressured to sign an IEP immediately following the meeting; consenting to a child's individualized education plan is an important decision, one which may take time. There is no need to hastily sign an agreement in which you are not completely sure is appropriate for your child.
Making the decision as to what may, or may not be, appropriate for your child's unique educational needs is one which can be difficult and confusing for any parent. If you have any questions regarding the appropriateness of your child's IEP contact Augustin Egelsee.
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