Lesson 1: Student-Led IEP Meeting
Activity: Student-Led IEP Meeting
As a young adult in middle or high school, you should be participating in your Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings. If you aren’t, it is time for you to take an active leadership role in making decisions about your current educational needs and your future goals. Your input into your education matters and if you are not participating in your IEP meetings you are essentially allowing others to make important decisions for and about you that can have a direct impact on your future. You could relate it to a team of professionals and your parents or guardians picking out your wardrobe for you for an entire year. You’d certainly like some input into those decisions, right? Having a voice in the plans made about your education will lay a solid foundation for your success now and in the future as an employee.
At your IEP meeting, you will have access to a forum of professionals charged with overseeing you are prepared for your journey beyond high school. You need to use this opportunity to be at the heart of the discussion about what you want your future to look like as it pertains to furthering your education at college or a technical school, employment, and/or living on your own.
Since your future includes employment, the IEP process is a great way to learn valuable skills which will prepare you for your job search as well as for interviewing with future employers. For example, one section of your IEP is titled “Present Level of Performance”. This is an area of the IEP which includes information about your strengths, interests, and preferences. Be sure to take an inventory of what you like to learn about and do prior to your IEP meeting. Rediscover your interests in the Job Seeker’s Toolkit under Interests Lesson and Example Assignment in Module 1- Self-Awareness, Section 4- Interests to better understand how your interests can help you focus your education. At the IEP meeting you and your team members will discuss what you are skilled at and you will share with them your interests as they pertain to work, your living arrangements, and/or furthering your education after high school.
The value of attending and listening to the input from your team members is important as they may share strengths about you which you did not consider for yourself. As you search for jobs, you will do so based on your strengths and interests and the additional information you receive from others about yourself will help you expand your list of qualities. As you grow and learn as a student, your interests and strengths will evolve and you will see first-hand how taking charge of your education positively impacts your growth. Keep in mind, if you can clearly share with your IEP team members what your strengths are and what efficiency tools you use to accomplish tasks you will be well prepared to discuss those things with an employer.
Lastly, participating in your IEP meetings will give you valuable opportunities to practice and refine your presentation skills. Consider making a powerpoint presentation to give which educates your team about your visual impairment and the implications it has on your ability to access materials. You can also begin matching your skills and abilities to specific jobs by using the Job Seeker’s Toolkit. Section 5: Skills and Abilities in Module 1: Self-Awareness can help you think about which jobs fit your skill set. You can also learn what skills you need to work on in order to be successful in your field of interest.
Your IEP team is entrusted to plan and prepare you for your transition from high school and they are required to consider your interests, strengths, preferences, and needs. What better way for this to be done than by you attending in person? What are you waiting for?!
Follow the outlined steps to become an active participant in your next IEP meeting. For purposes of this assignment, efficiency tools are the tools you use to independently access information in an efficient manner such as a magnifier or an electronic note-taker.
- Obtain a copy of your IEP in your preferred format (print or electronic).
- The duration of your annual IEP is typically for one year. An IEP meeting should be scheduled before the end date of your IEP.
What is the initiation (start) date of your IEP?
What is the end date of your IEP?
- Notify your teacher of the visually impaired that you would like to help plan and participate in your next IEP meeting.
- Complete the IEP Meeting Planning Form to prepare for your meeting. If this is your first time participating in your IEP meeting, you may not be ready to assume all of the responsibilities associated with planning and leading your meeting. However, over time you can gradually increase the activities you are responsible for until you are fully organizing and leading your IEP meeting. Your goal should be to accomplish this by your senior year of high school.
Activity: IEP Meeting Planning Form
Complete the worksheet to set up and plan for your next IEP meeting. Update the worksheet as you complete each step.
You are required to invite the first six members listed on the chart. When your state considers you to be the age of majority (between the ages of 18-21) or the age you are recognized as an adult, all or some of the educational rights your parents or guardians have had will transfer to you. This means you will be able to make legal choices that have been previously made for you by your parents or guardians. If your rights have been transferred to you, you are encouraged to invite your parents/guardians, but they are not required to attend. Consult with your teacher of the visually impaired to determine if you have invited all of the required participants to your meeting as there are certain guidelines under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which need to be followed. If you would like more than one of your general education teachers to attend your meeting, you can invite them. Essentially you can invite anyone who can provide input and guidance into planning for and supporting your transition into the world of work.
Team Member: Name:
General Education Teacher
Teacher of the Visually Impaired
Expert to interpret Evaluation Results
School District Representative
Vocational Rehabilitation Agency
Orientation and Mobility Specialist
Step 2: Work with your teacher of the visually impaired as well as other resources at school to schedule a date and time for the meeting. You will also need to reserve a location for the meeting.
Team Member: Name:
Team Member: Name:
Step 4: Create a meeting agenda (topics for discussion) which includes the following minimum items:
- Introductions — Write a script for welcoming, thanking, and introducing your team members.
- Purpose of the Meeting — Why are the members of your team meeting?
- There are three important parts of the meeting you need to be prepared to provide input to.
- Present Level of Performance — Make a list of information to share about your current performance at school. Things you may want to share are your grades, test scores, strengths, interests, needs, etc.
- Accommodations — Describe your visual impairment and the implications of your vision loss (using simple terms not medical terms which are unfamiliar) to the team. Discuss the efficiency tools you use to independently access information and complete tasks.
- Goals — Share your vision for your future with your team as it relates to furthering your education, holding a job, your living arrangements, etc. What do you want to do after high school? What do you need and want to learn so you can reach your postsecondary goals? You and your IEP team members will write learning goals for you which will help prepare you to transition into work, college, technical school and/or independent living.
- Services — What direct, consultative, or related services do you need from instructors or therapists to master your learning goals? Do you need more or less support from your teacher of the visually impaired? Keep in mind as you move towards graduation, your goal should be to receive less support so you are prepared for independence after graduation.
- Conclusion — Thank your team members for attending your IEP meeting.