5 Tips for Emotions at the IEP Table

iep parenting special education special education teacher special needs Dec 29, 2020


Parents and Teachers, I know you’ve been trying to both bite your tongue and say the right thing at the IEP table for a while now.

You hear others talking about how smooth their IEP meeting went and yours just never seem to go that way or at least it doesn't feel that way on the inside. 

Every time you sit at the IEP table, you can feel the emotions bubbling up.

Every time you get close to finding a solution or figuring out the next steps, something happens and you end up back where you started.

Not this time.

Because this time you’re going to use these same tips that Master IEP Coaches® know.

Give these tips a try and feel your emotions go down and the results go up, which is exactly what we need for your child or student!

Tip 1: Never make decisions without data. Always ask yourself, where's the data that is driving this discussion or decision at the IEP table? This avoids a ton of unnecessary uproar because we should always be looking at non-emotional facts at the IEP table.

WARNING: You may not have all the data you need to make a decision. It's ok to table a discussion until you get the data you need. But, make sure to get a data collection plan before the meeting is over.

Tip 2: Avoid letting passion take over the purpose of the meeting. I know you've got all the feels about making sure this IEP is the best of the best for your child or student, but you need to put your fire aside sometimes so everyone can be heard.

Tip 3: Be sure to make a plan for all unsolved issues before you leave the meeting. This is only one meeting. There can always be more meetings. Not everything needs to be decided right now.

Bonus Tip: You can also wrap up many IEP details WITHOUT another formal meeting. Master IEP Coaches® do this all the time to push the paperwork faster and get more services and supports for students without a big, stressful meeting!

Tip 4: Don’t speak over others. Your voice matters and others do too. You absolutely can find the balance of listening and contributing. In fact, you can influence more people at the IEP table by being a good listener AND speaking up, instead of just one or the other.

Tip 5: Absolutely ask yourself... is this something we need to talk about right now? Do we need everyone's input at the IEP table? So many IEP meetings waste time in emotional conversations that could be better addressed (and solved!) outside of the formal meeting with everyone watching.

Example: You've agreed that your child will be joining the students in general education for their science class. You've also agreed a 1:1 paraprofessional will be supporting your child through the class. Since you have the support and the inclusion time written down in the IEP notes, you can figure out how inclusion will work, communication methods, and all the other details AFTER the meeting because not everyone needs to be involved in that discussion. You'll get more done with separate communication between the science teacher, special education teacher, parent, and any other team member that is key to making the inclusion during science successful.

One last tip... trying to manage all the decisions and your emotions at the same time can be tough (almost impossible) and overwhelming. That's exactly why there's an entire community of parents, teachers, and Master IEP Coaches ready to support you inside of the Special Education Inner Circle! SEE HOW HERE

FREE IEP Training for Parents and Teachers

Get 3 Critical Steps to Fixing Every IEP

Learn More

Download 12 IEP Questions Everyone Forgets to Ask

Parents and Teachers, Use this Question Guide to Get Ready for Your Next IEP Meeting!