December 3, 2023

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When is an IEP meeting too short? Can the IEP team review and revise a child’s IEP in 25-30 minutes?

Does your school district impose short, fixed time limits for IEP review and revision? Here’s what we’re hearing. . .

“The team said our meeting was from 7:45 to 8:10. “They are ‘shortening’ IEP meeting times because teachers have to be in the classroom.”

“I had to choose one 30-minute session for the meeting to prepare next year’s IEP. If the team needs more time, I have to schedule another meeting, which probably won’t happen before the end of the school year.”

What do you think? Can the IEP team review and revise the IEP in 25-30 minutes?

We agree – people waste a lot of time in meetings. IEP meetings are no exception. The solution to this problem is to provide IEP team leaders trained to organize and manage effective meetings which they produce an educationally useful, legally correct IEP.

When administrators arbitrarily limit IEP meetings, they create a no-win situation. The IEP team will be forced to ignore legal requirements to review and revise the IEP. (For statutory requirements for IEP review and revision, see Chapter 11 v Wrightslaw: All About IEPs (ISBN: 978-1-892320-20-9, 192 pages).

The IEP team will not have time to receive information from some school members who are required to attend or to address the parent’s concerns. These team members will feel disappointed and resentful and will see future meetings as a waste of time. Who can blame them?

What can you do if you are offered an appointment time that is simply too short?

Your to-do list

If you’re struggling with arbitrary time limits at IEP meetings, we recommend doing two things:

* document problem by sharing your experiences and

* provide the facts that support your concerns.

1. Document the problem

Write a short letter, note, or email to the school principal, with copies to the district’s special director and superintendent. The letter should document your experiences and your concerns about the negative impact of universal deadlines (“all children with disabilities are the same”).

Tip: People don’t have time to read long letters, so your letter needs to be short and sweet.

In your letter or email, introduce yourself (briefly) as the parent of a child who uses special education services through IEP at XYZ school. Briefly describe what you were told about time limits at IEP meetings.

Tip: You are writing to the person who has the authority to solve the problem. Use words like “you,” “we,” and “our” to make your letter and issue more personal.

“I’m confused. I hope you can help.” The IEP team is Required discuss and decide on many issues, including the child’s current level, needs, measurable goals, services, progress, accommodations, and placement. The IEP team cannot review the data and modify the IEP in 25-30 minutes.

“I suppose you [principal / sped director / superintendent] I’m not aware of staff setting arbitrary time limits for IEP meetings.’

“I appreciate your response to my concerns. [Be sure to include your contact info.] If you have questions about these issues, please contact me at work (888-555-9876) or at home (888-555-1234) after 6:00 p.m. I appreciate your help and quick response.”

2. Include information that supports your concerns

Download and print two tools designed to help parents and teachers create educationally useful and legally correct IEPs. Attach or attach these documents to your letter or email.

IEP Pop-Up Tool – Developing a Child’s IEP (12 Questions and Answers) – When you click on the questions in the Pop-Up Tool, you will get the legally correct answers (what IDEA requires), the law and/or regulation that supports the answers, and a list of resources.

IEP Checklist – Is the IEP Individualized? When you answer the questions on the IEP Checklist, you will know if your child’s IEP is individualized as required by law. IEP Checklist (PDF)

If you are unable to get appropriate services for your child or unable to provide appropriate services for your students, we hope this plan will help you.

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