Prepare for an IEP or 504 Planning Meeting
- Create a list of your child’s areas of need. Before the meeting, list your child’s struggles and deficits. Know that it is not always emotionally easy to compile as it focuses on all they cannot do without support. But without a well-thought-out list of their struggles, the team is likely to miss ways to provide appropriate support. Remember to incorporate information about what you observe at home, including difficulties with homework and signs they are overstressed at school.
- Create a list of your child’s learning styles, i.e., visual learner, benefits from movement breaks, good at memorizing, etc.
- Look at typical accommodations and supports are for PANS PANDAS symptoms your child has (See links) and review to see which could be appropriate for your child.
During the Meeting
- Approach the teacher or team of professionals as a team
- Remember, you are an integral part of the team; your input matters. The school team must provide you with copies of reports in advance, or you cannot be an active and informed member of the school team.
- Be prepared to work to get what your child needs (PANS Impacts Multiple Areas of Learning – https://aspire.care/schools-educators/pans-impacts-multiple-areas-of-learning/)
- Ask staff questions when you need more information
- Have support with you: friend, spouse, or an education advocate if needed
- Record your IEP. Note: Some states require 24-hour advance notice in writing; usually, the district will record too
- Take notes. It may be helpful to note the time of the recording during a critical discussion as it is easier to find that moment in a long recording.
- Ask for Prior Written Notice (PWN) when the district makes or denies changes to identification, evaluation, or educational placement. (See PWN section link)
- Review all 504, health plans, IEPs thoroughly before signing. Make sure you know your state’s regulations about timelines/deadlines. State regulations vary from state to state.
- Remain calm. If you need to step outside, ask for a 5-minute break.
- Stick to the facts.
- Ask questions when you need more information.
- Complete all paperwork provided by the school. If you need time to review the paperwork, it is okay to take it home and return it when you have had time to check it over.
- Review and discuss the next steps.
- If you need to appeal a decision made by the district, make sure to read your procedural safeguards for options and timelines.
- Request a follow-up date.
After the Meeting
Write a follow-up to thank the school personnel for their help. Include a timeline of the team’s next steps. Keep in touch with key school personnel.
Keep Good Records
Communicate in writing as much as possible to establish a chain of records. After a phone call, follow up with a brief email outlining the call. Keep a copy of everything for your documents in one place to easily access it.
Special Education Articles
- Getting Started with 504 & IEP Plans
- 504 Plan Basics for PANS PANDAS
- Individualized Education Plans (IEP) Plans for PANS PANDAS
- Writing Requests for Assessments & Services
- IEP or 504 Meeting – Preparation, Participation, & Follow Up
- Prior Written Notice
Learn more about PANS PANDAS in the school setting. PANS PANDAS is a medical condition in which symptoms affect a student’s ability to attend school and learn.
Written in conjunction with ASPIRE Education Committee and Shara Virlan.
Sharla has 14 years of classroom education. She also has a child with PANDAS. She runs the PANS PANDAS Education Facebook page.
- S Elementary Ed. with a minor in Early Childhood ED.
- Masters in Educational Leadership
- License in Reading Instruction
- 14 years of teaching experience (Grades K-3)
- 1 year of Literacy Coaching