The ABC's of IEP's: Tips for your First IEP Meeting

An IEP, which stands for Individualized Education Program, is an agreement between you and your child’s school. This plan serves as an outline of what services your child needs in order to be successful in school. It’s a road map for your child’s education. As an important part of the team, you help create your child’s IEP with members of the school’s special education staff and your child’s teachers and specialists.

One of the most important things to remember as you and the school walk down this IEP path together is that the IEP is supposed to be unique to your child’s educational needs. This means that you and the school will need to take some time to talk about what’s best for your child. Even before you and the school meet together in person, you’ll want to think about what kinds of support you think will help your child do their best at school.

Preparation will help you be a strong advocate for your child. After all, you know your child best. To get ready for the meeting, spend a few minutes thinking about these questions:

  • What do you hope for your child over the next year?
  • What are your concerns?
  • What are your child's strengths and interests?
  • What are your child's challenges?
  • What has the school been doing well for your child?
  • What could the school be doing better?

Write down your answers to these questions so you can refer to them at the IEP meeting. At that meeting, you can explore which services or specialists can help your child get what they need to succeed.

Want more info on what to look for in your child’s IEP? Before your IEP meeting, use our Exceptional Lives IEP Guide. We’ll take you through:

  • what special education services your child could qualify for,
  • more on how you can get ready for the IEP meeting, and
  • what happens after you and the school write your child’s IEP.

The Exceptional Lives team is available to answer any questions you may have along the way. Give us a call at 1-844-628-4866 or send us an email at

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