3 Tips for Advocating for Your Child in an IEP Meeting

Event Recap
Jun. 1, 2022Updated Jun. 1, 2022

Being an advocate for your child can make a world of difference when it comes to the services and supports written into their IEP. The IEP meeting can be intimidating, especially if you’re new to the whole process, but you don’t have to advocate for your child’s needs all on your own.

On May 26, 2022, we sat down with parent Isabelle Smith and Undivided Navigator Kelly Hatfield to hear about their collaborative kindergarten IEP experience and how they worked together to advocate for inclusion with supports for Isabelle’s daughter. Here’s what the conversation taught us about strong parent advocacy!

Do as much prep before the IEP meeting as you can

Kelly worked with Isabelle long before the IEP meeting to review all the materials available to them and write a list of concerns to address. As Kelly says, her goal is to work out as many of the details regarding accommodations and goals as possible beforehand so that the actual meeting can run more smoothly. Hear her tips for approaching the IEP prep process in this clip:

Be assertive but collaborative

Isabelle encountered resistance from the school staff when advocating for an inclusive education for her daughter. She says that she was able to reign in her anger and frustration by keeping the big picture in mind: she and these IEP team members are all working for the long-term benefit of her daughter’s education. Listen to her advice for working with the IEP team in this clip:

Know your rights and your “why”

Isabelle says that as a first-time parent of a child with a disability, she didn’t even know what she could ask for, so learning her rights as a parent was a vital part of preparing for the IEP meeting. Listen to this clip for Isabelle’s most crucial advice for parents heading into an IEP meeting:

One of Isabelle’s recommendations is to educate your IEP team about your child, their diagnosis, and their needs. That can include educating them about why inclusion is so important and why your child would benefit!

During our live chat, Iris B commented, “We shared this resource with our school district when we requested the inclusion specialist. There are grants for schools that want to become more inclusive [in California] to pay for that inclusion specialist. No excuses!!”

Watch the full recording

If you missed the event or want to review what we learned, you can catch the full recording here.

To learn more about helping your child get the supports they need, be sure to attend our next live event to ask your questions in the chat and hear from our experts and fellow parents! Keep an eye on our Facebook page to learn more about upcoming events, and join our private Facebook group to keep the discussion going.


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