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What does an IEP Team do?

Produced by Massachusetts Law Reform Institute & Justice Center of Southeastern Massachusetts
Created February, 2022

The team meets at least once a year to make decisions based on your child’s individual needs. The IEP team writes the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for your child. The IEP lists the services, supports, and accommodations your child gets.

Your child’s team includes:

  • You, the parent or guardian,
  • At least one of your child’s special education teachers,
  • If your child spends time in the general education setting, at least one of your child’s general education teachers, ,
  • Other people or agencies you or the school invite,
  • Someone who can explain evaluation results,
  • Other people like service providers who may have information about your child. For example, a speech language pathologist, or a school adjustment counselor,
  • Someone who has the authority to commit the services and resources of the school district, and
  • Your child if they are between 14 and 22.

If you need an interpreter, the school should provide one for you.  See What if I do not understand English very well?

See What should be in an IEP? to understand the parts of an IEP and what should go into it.

Why is it important for me to go to the Team Meeting?

You are an important member of the special education team:

  • You can make sure the goals the team set for your child are high. And,
  • You know things about your child that teachers and professionals do not.

Tell the team your concerns about your child’s:

  • Academics,
  • Social skills,
  • Emotional development,
  • Communication skills,
  • Behavior, or
  • Other life skills.

You have the right to:

  • Attend all IEP Team Meetings.
  • Have an interpreter if you need one.
  • Share your concerns about your child’s development.
  • Invite anyone you want to the Team meeting. You can bring a lawyer or advocate, an outside expert, an agency service provider, or a friend or family member. You can bring more than one person if you want to. Tell the school ahead of time if you are bringing a lawyer or advocate to the meeting.
  • Bring an evaluation that someone outside the school did. The team must consider this independent evaluation. If you want the Team to go over an independent evaluation, give the evaluation to the Special Education Coordinator. The school must schedule a Team Meeting with 10 school days after you give them the independent evaluation.

How do I prepare for the team meeting?

  • Write to the school and ask for copies of the evaluation reports before the Team meeting. They must give them to you 2 days before the meeting, if you ask for them.
  • Read your child’s progress reports before going to the Team meeting.
  • Write a list of:
    • Questions you want to ask your child’s teachers and the evaluator.
    • Concerns about your child’s progress so you can tell the team your concerns.
    • Things your child should be better at.
    • Accommodations your child needs to succeed in school.

Important

The school should not refuse to provide a service because it “costs too much” or is “not available in the district.” If the school refuses to provide services, talk to a lawyer.

If your child is not getting the help they need, tell the Team at the Team Meeting. You can ask the school to re-evaluate your child, or to pay for an independent evaluation.

Find Legal Aid

You may be able to get free legal help from your local legal aid program. Or email a question about your own legal problem to a lawyer.

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