02 Oct “Prior Written Notice”–Know Who Is Coming to Your IEP Meeting
The school must tell you in advance who is coming to your IEP meeting. The titles of attendees should be listed on the meeting notification form that the school is legally required to send you within a reasonable timeframe before the meeting. If the actual names of the individuals are not listed on the form, I would send the form back and ask to know who specifically is coming. Technically, the school does not have to tell you the actual names of the people attending, just their title. However, don’t let that stop you from asking. For example, it’s not enough to know “Area Administrator” — you want to know that it’s John Smith, Area Administrator.
Similarly, if the form states “Occupational Therapist” don’t assume your child’s OT will be the one in attendance. Sometimes the actual therapist cannot make the meeting so another therapist will come in their place and read the therapy notes. As a parent, I want to talk to the actual therapist who is treating my child, not a substitute.
If someone comes to your IEP meeting and they were not listed on the meeting notice, you do not have to allow them to stay in the meeting. There have been cases where a parent walks into an IEP meeting and there is a table full of people the parent never expected. You do not have to allow them to stay. You can ask that they leave.
One final note: While the school must inform you of who is coming to the IEP meeting, you do not have to tell the school who is coming with you. If you are bringing an advocate or a child’s private therapist, you don’t have to let the school know. Some parents like to tell the school in advance, others don’t. It’s up to you.
For more tips, check out “Requesting Prior Written Notice” in our free Parent Resource Library. This downloadable pdf even shows you what to include in a letter to the school.