Types of IEP Meetings
Individualized Education Plan, or IEP, meetings are a regular part of many people’s lives who have and care for children with disabilities. These meetings can be extremely stressful for caregivers, parents, and children throughout the school years. Many times, one does not always know what to expect at the meeting, what to ask for beforehand, and what the outcome will be. This can create stress, confusion, and uncertainty for everyone. It can become more overwhelming and difficult when a child suddenly qualifies for special education and the caregiver is suddenly thrust into a world with a new language, new rules, and new expectations that they weren’t even aware of existing before. Most IEP teams understand how important your role is and are glad to help you; however, understanding what educational language to use to get your needs met can be very empowering and helpful.
Taking the time to learn about the types of IEP meetings that “typically” occur can help you understand what type of meeting to request or to expect. Requesting an IEP meeting can be challenging because often if it is not done with correct educational terminology and language the meeting can be denied. For example, your child may be having new challenges and you wish to call for an IEP meeting to talk about those issues and review the IEP. You would like to call an “emergency meeting”; however, the campus is resistant to an “emergency meeting” and you become frustrated. This is due to the fact that there are no “emergency meetings”; however, you can request a “review IEP meeting to be scheduled with all due haste or ASAP”. This has the same message but uses the educational language that your school or district may be more familiar with.
Take a moment to look here at the official types of IEP meetings and also the “unofficial” types. The purpose of the meeting should always be indicated on the prior written notice you receive when you are invited to the meeting. One of the following reasons should be listed as the purpose for the IEP meeting. If it isn’t listed, you should definitely ask.
Officially, there are four main types of IEP meetings:
Initial - An initial IEP meeting occurs after the child has been assessed for special education services. This meeting is often done to determine eligibility for special education services. If the child is found eligible for special education services the committee will then develop the Individual Education Program (IEP) listing goals, accommodations, supports, etc. recommended during the special education evaluation and the committee.
This meeting can be broken into 2 with one meeting to determine eligibility and then another held no more than 30 school days later to develop the IEP.
Annual - This meeting is held one time a year to review the student’s progress and update the IEP. At this time, goals should be updated, accommodations evaluated, and supports (i.e. in class support) for the current year and next year evaluated.
Re-Evaluation or Triennial - This IEP meeting is held every 3 years and required by federal law - IDEA. This meeting is held to determine if the student continues to qualify for special education services. This is typically determined using a REED or FIE.
If there is an additional FIE (perhaps by parent request), if another area of eligibility is determined, or another disability is to be added to the IEP, this meeting can be called a “re-evaluation” meeting as well. Some may also call it a “revision” ARD.
Dismissal - This meeting is typically held in conjunction with the re-evaluation meeting. This is done when the re-evaluation IEP committee determines that the student no longer qualifies for special education services. As a parent, you should be aware of this prior to the meeting. Also, this decision should not be made arbitrarily but should be supported by multiple data points.
Other types of additional IEP meetings - also known as “review” IEP meetings can be held for the following reasons:
Transition - These meetings are held when a student is moving from one school to another (i.e. preK to kindergarten or middle school to high school). Planning for this transition is important and key to student success.
For high school students, planning for transition out of high school must begin, at the latest, by the time a student turns 16. It is required by IDEA that a transition plan for their successful transition out of high school is developed by the time they turn 16. This plan is part of the IEP and should be reviewed annually.
Transfer - (sometimes called “interim”) is held when a student moves into a new school or new school district. Some schools/districts break this up into two meetings. However, the new school/district has 30 days to review the IEP, paperwork, and assess the needs of the child and then hold a meeting to ensure the plan is being implemented and needs are benign met.
T1 - Held when the student enrolls in the new school (prior to enrollment or the first day or during their first week of school). This is done to review the IEP, talk about the needs of the child, and gain context regarding how best to support the student in their new school environment.
T2 - Held up to 30 school days after enrollment (but no later than that) to review the IEP, review the student’s progress so far in school, and make any necessary changes that match the new district/school and meet the students needs more fully.
MDR - Manifestation Determination Review is held when a student with special education services (or 504 support) is facing disciplinary action, such as suspension or expulsion. This meeting is designed to examine if the behavior was caused by the student’s disability or the school’s failure to follow the student’s IEP.
Change of placement - This meeting is held to discuss the student moving to a more or less restrictive environment or program. An example of this could be moving from a general education classroom to an applied skills program. A student’s placement cannot be changed without extensive documentation, data collection, and intervention provided in the least restrictive environment.
Review - to discuss or review the current IEP and discuss a possible change of the IEP (i.e. updating goals, accommodations, etc.) outside of the annual or re-evaluation meeting. This is the type of meeting that is requested when you have concerns about your child and would like to make adjustments to their IEP, program, or supports.
Continuation - This type of meeting is held when there is not enough time to complete the IEP and finish the discussion needed to finish the IEP meeting.
Amendment - This type of meeting is done when a particular concern or minor revision to the IEP is needed (i.e. adding 1 accommodation). This type of meeting can be done without a full IEP committee and can be done with a member of the LEA and the parent/caregiver.
*Note: This is not all encompassing or inclusive. Different states have different ways of holding IEP meetings and, therefore, things may look different in your state or district. If you would like further specific information about your state or district please contact them to ask about the types of IEP meetings held there.