Following an IEP meeting members of the IEP team will generally ask a parent to consent to the IEP in its entirety. Oftentimes, parents will feel pressured to sign the IEP immediately or risk alienating members of the IEP team. A good option that parents in this situation have is to simply state that they would like to take time to review the written IEP document as a whole, to ensure that they do not have any additional questions or concerns. The IEP document is what governs your child's educational plan, and simply requesting additional time to review the document in its entirety is a complete reasonable request.
While taking time to review the IEP is an important step, IEP team members will often state the importance of providing consent to the IEP so that they may then implement the services and goals outlined within that IEP. While it is true that an IEP cannot be implemented until a parent has provided consent, parents in this situation are often times unaware of a very useful tool. If following your review of the written IEP document you do not believe that the program and/or placement will be appropriate for your child's needs, parents can simply consent solely to implementation of the IEP, but deny that it constitutes an adequate offer of a Free and Appropriate Public Education. This can be done by simply indicating such on the IEP signature page.
By simply providing consent to implementation of the IEP you are allowing your child the ability to access his updated placement, services or goals while also reserving your right to challenge the appropriateness of the IEP document. It is important to understand that a school district may file a due process complaint against parents in these situations in an attempt to defend their offer of FAPE, but again, parents should never feel pressured to sign an IEP document that they do not feel is appropriate. Additionally, once the IEP has been altered to include an appropriate offer of placement and program, parents should remember to provide consent to that IEP within a reasonable time period.
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Navigating the road of special education law can be difficult and confusing, if you have any questions about your child's special education placement or services, Contact us by email or call us at 714-602-1498 or 866-781-7723 (toll free) for more information.
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