IEP teams: Who's involved?
There are certain representatives who are required to be present in order to hold an IEP team meeting. However, you as a parent/caregiver also get a say in which additional team members should be present.
The IEP team should include individuals who are familiar with the child and can represent their strengths and needs. If you have other family members or friends who know your child and can speak to these things, invite them! The school will only invite required team members to the IEP team, so you will need to notify and invite anyone else you want involved. You can also request that additional people receive formal IEP meeting invitations, but a formal invitation is not required for a support person to attend the meeting with you.
Required team members
Parents / caregivers are essential IEP team members! You, as a primary caregiver, will almost always be able to bring a perspective to the team that others may not see.
When the team is functioning as it should, team meetings should feel like a very collaborative process - you should not be expected to have all the answers AND your input should be thoughtfully considered by the school staff present. Decisions should be made as a group, and you should get to have a say in those decisions. I
f you are being made to feel that your thoughts or input aren’t important, then the meeting process is being mishandled. This can be a good time to bring in a support person so that you don’t feel like an island.
Special education teacher
There should always be a special education teacher at the IEP meeting. This staff should be familiar with your child.
General (“regular”) education teacher
There should always be a classroom teacher who knows your child at all IEP meetings.
There should always be a representative of the school district at the IEP meeting because these staff are the ones who have the power to commit district resources to fulfilling the IEP. This person may be a principal or a district-level interventionist staff (like a member of the Intensive Services Team) or the district level special ed director/director of student services. Sometimes the school psychologist can also serve as the LEA representative.
A staff person qualified to interpret evaluation results
This is often the school psychologist or the Special Education Director/Director of Student Services. This person must be able to look at the results of evaluations and think about what services may be appropriate to meet the needs demonstrated by the evaluations.
Potential other team members
- If your child receives Related Services, then the individuals providing those services should be also attend IEP team meetings.
If your child is a Transition Age Youth and transition services will be discussed at the IEP meeting, then a representative from the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation would be a good team member.
The school is required to get your permission before inviting anyone outside of the required team members to the IEP meeting (see Forms I-1A, I-1B, I-1C), or for a required team representative to be absent for all or part of the IEP meeting (Form I-2).
Sometimes, it is appropriate for a staff person like an Occupational Therapist to be present to share information about what they are doing with the student and then leave, which is a time when it may make sense for the parent to excuse that staff. However, if the school wants to excuse a staff that you find to be a valuable team member (because they connect well with your child or advocate in a way that you find helpful), then you have every right to make your wishes known, and you are not required to sign the form excusing that staff.