I don’t know about you all, but in my neck of the woods, IEP season is in full force!  Next week, I have 8 IEP’s!! 8 IEP’s people and that’s only the start of things. What SLP does need tips to run a successful IEP?  I am always looking for tips to run a successful IEP meeting.  When the IEP doesn’t go well, then then the WHOLE team suffers.  Most importantly, the student will suffer.

tips to run a successful IEP meeting

I asked all my SLP blogger pals to share there most effective tips to run a successful IEP meeting, so you can get through the rest of the school year with less stress. Some of these tips require some work up front, but it makes the actual IEP meeting run easily and with contented IEP members.

Be Organized.

“I try to get in touch with the parents before the meeting to share how their child is doing and ask if they have any concerns, so that I can be sure to address them during the meeting. I also have all the paperwork that I have to give parents (procedural safeguards, diploma options, ESY info) in the working file before the meeting so I have everything at my fingertips.”Teach Speech 365

tips for running a successful IEP meeting

“At the beginning of the year, I have parents fill out a contact preferences form, and have them tell me if they prefer to be called, emailed, or texted, and which days of the week and times are better for meetings. I have had a much easier time getting in touch with parents the last two years I have done this, and it is much easier to tentatively plan a whole dat of meetings when I know which parents can come in in the morning or afternoon. I also send home bright green reminders the night before any meetings.” Natalie Snyders

“Where I see IEPs start to “fail” is when staff aren’t prepared with accurate current levels, objectives that make sense and don’t try to measure too many things in one, and aren’t just repeats of past objectives. So, I’d say to come prepared with those things, and be able to explain to parents why you’re focusing on that.” Susan Berkowitz

“I always document into an excel spreadsheet the results of all meeting. I made tabs/pages for each grade. This way I have all results in one place. Helps with articulating with other SLPs for following year.” Hallie (Speech Time Fun)

Make A Personal Connections With Your IEP Team Members

“I jot down little quotes from their child (or stories) of successes in speech. Percentages and goal mastery is great, but when you make it personal the parents light up” Mandi (Panda Speech Therapy)

“It has really helped me to communicate regularly with parents, sharing praise and concerns throughout the year. That way there aren’t any surprises at the IEP. I send brag tags and stickers home with kids for quick and easy communication, but I also made myself a spreadsheet with parent contact information (to save some time when making those phones calls)!” Marisha (Road To Speech)

“I always try to ask parents what concerns they want to have addressed in the IEP meeting.  If I want to recommend a decreases/increase in services for a student, I collaborate with teachers and the parents prior to the meeting to make sure we are on the same page.  It helps parents to process this information, so it isn’t a surprise at the meeting.”  Felice Clark (The Dabbling Speechie)

“Request parent input before the IEP and document those concerns on the IEP. This helps ensure the parent is involved in the process, builds trust, and helps prevent surprises during the meeting.” Hilari (Talking In The Classroom)

Sharing students strengths with the IEP team

“I always make sure to include several strengths in each section in addition to the needs. Parents need to hear good things about how their child is doing in addition to the areas they struggle with!” Kari Radovich (Rock Chalk Speech Talk)

“Make sure you mention the student’s STRENGTHS. Parents need to hear the positives!!!” Tracy Morlan (Gold Country SLP)

Keep the meeting child focus

“One thing I have started this year is being more purposeful about getting my students’ input on how they feel they are doing in therapy, as well as how they feel about coming to therapy. This is a valuable piece of information to the team, and has been very eye opening to not only myself, but also their parents and teachers.” Natalie Snyders

“Start by asking the parent to share any praises they have on their student’s progress over the year, as well as any concerns. Make sure to actually address those concerns during the meeting. ” Kristin (Talkin’ With Twang)

Know Your Student

“Keep good data. Write present levels in parent friendly terms that everyone can understand. Give a well rounded account of the child’s overall communication skills, always leading with strengths. Get parent AND teacher buy-in so all are working as a team.” Anne (Beautiful Speech Life)

“Knowing your student’s interests shows parents that you took the time to get to know their son/daughter. If it is an initial IEP, I will have parents share their child’s interests and motivators.  This helps me to get the parents involved in helping their child and gives me a place to start with planning motivating therapy sessions.” Felice Clark (The Dabbling Speechie)

Provide Supports For The IEP Team Members

“I always bring a copy of my free “Introduction to PPT Meetings for Families” packet and it makes it much less overwhelming for families and caregivers.” Claudia (Creative Speech Lab) Psst..link to the resource

“Use visuals. I have a collection of great handouts with the bell curve, the processes of articulation therapy, the elimination of phonological processes. I also send home a list of terms for speech therapy and a “what you can do now” list for parents that want to get started on something at home right away.” Ashley (Sweet Speech)

“I make sure I write my reports and updates in parent friendly language. You don’t want them Googling terminology. Also if you can visually show progress that is great. My data collection app gives me the option to show graphs of progress on each objective. So even if there has only been small growth, parents still see an upward trend line” Maureen (The Speech Bubble SLP)

tips for running a successful IEP meeting

My most important tip is to try to see the perspectives of all team members!  When we try to understand their point of view, we can gain insight into their strengths, struggles, fears and emotions. An IEP meeting is an opportunity to collaborate on how to make a student shine brighter!

“Try to understand men. If you understand each other you will be kind to each other. Knowing a man well never lead to hate and almost always leads to love.”
― John Steinbeck