Can We Request An Emergency IEP Meeting?

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IEP Meetings are held to help focus on the improvement in the academic performance of the special needs child. There are several ways and different types of meetings that are held by the IEP team, but quite often, one might need an unplanned IEP Meeting. This is what is referred to as an Emergency IEP Meeting. So, can parents or students request an emergency meeting? 

Since parents form a crucial stake in decision-making related to IEP, this post will guide you through the step-by-step process of requesting an emergency IEP meeting. 

IEP meetings- Their importance in IEP goals

IEP meetings encourage the participation of both parents and schools to work together toward the betterment of the disabled child. Through these meetings, parents become well-informed about their child’s rights and about their participation in IEP.

According to Porter[1], IEP includes modification in curriculum, accommodating academic material, assistive technology, and other related services like physical or speech therapy. For this, a corroborative partnership of the school administration, teachers, and parents is required to ensure these components for the development of the disabled child. An IEP meeting reviews how far the development has happened in the child’s performance.

An Emergency IEP meeting is held when there is a need for an urgent update of the child’s IEP document or there is a crisis concerning the child that needs attention and requires all the IEP team members to be present in an emergency meeting. The emergency meeting is held when immediate action needs to be taken by taking input from the parents, school administration, and the teacher.                                                               

Can we request an emergency IEP meeting?

The parents have the right to request an emergency IEP meeting at any given time. The parents can call an emergency meeting if they feel the child is not making progress towards their IEP goals or if the child’s IEP is not being adequately followed and the parents feel that the child may require a different education placement.

Before the emergency meeting is organized, it is necessary to observe the child’s strengths and weaknesses. At the same time, before the meeting, the parents need to make sure that they go through the previous IEPs of the child if available. Parents, when requesting an emergency meeting should be specific regarding the reason why they are calling for this emergency IEP meeting. 

The emergency meeting can also be called by the school if the child has been called for expulsion and you believe that their disability caused their misconduct. 

How to request for an emergency IEP meeting

There can be many situations when a parent could request an emergency IEP meeting. Find below step by step process of how you can request an emergency meeting.

  1. First of all, contact the advocate or the case manager that is working with your child’s IEP and state the reason why you are calling the emergency meeting. Parents can either mail the team members or have a phone call involving one of the team members of the IEP that act as a witness.
  2. After sending that mail or making the telephone call, it is important to be specific as to why the IEP team members are being called back for an emergency meeting. It is necessary that it is shared with the other team members too.. For eg: A parent is concerned about their special needs child who is able to work with the teachers on reading fluency but is struggling to understand comprehension which is something that should be addressed by the parents with the IEP Team members.
  3. A letter has to be written to the principal of the school requesting the emergency meeting and specifically stating the urgency of the IEP meeting.
  4. Ensure that the letter reaches the recipient and one gets the confirmation that the letter has been received by the school administration.
  5. One needs to consult the state’s guidelines which state how many days the emergency IEP meeting can be scheduled. It differs from state to state. For some states, it’s 5 days to schedule an emergency IEP meeting and in some, it takes 30 days.
  6. The follow-up to the email that one has sent to the school administration is very important and to check up on the schedule.

If any extra member has to be brought by the parent to the IEP meeting, the team members and the school administration should be informed 24 hours before the emergency IEP meeting is scheduled. 

Here we understand…

While IEP can be a crucial part of the child’s education, so can regular IEP meetings. While all the stakeholders and people involved in the process like parents, IEP advocates and members of the school meet up regularly to discuss the progress, updation of goals, and many other things, an emergency IEP meeting can be called anytime to discuss any serious matter. However, one needs to go through a proper channel and all protocols must be adhered to before calling for an emergency IEP meeting. 

References:

  1. Porter, L., & McKenzie, S. (2000). Professional collaboration with parents of children with disabilities. John Wiley & Sons Incorporated. Page no.5

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