Active Parent Participation in IEP Meetings

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Parents play a critical role in the planning of educational programs for their children. In efforts to increase parental involvement, instructions were added to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that mandated active parental participation during the preparation of Individualized Education Programs (IEPs). According to Lo (2008), when IDEA was reauthorized in 2004, additional parental rights were added that required the attendance of parents and every member of an IEP Team, unless both the parent and school agree to an absence and document that agreement in writing. That mandate emphasizes the importance of parental participation in educational programming for their children.

Current research indicates that legislation, alone, is not enough to encourage parents to participate in educational programming activities for their children. Simpson states, “Parental roles have not increased in IEP meetings and positive relationships between parents and educators have not been ensured despite the conceptualization and intent of P.L. 94-142” (1996).

Purpose Statement

Parents often fail to communicate their thoughts about the source of problems that challenge their children, or to recommend solutions during Individualized Education Program meetings because most do not feel empowered to participate in the IEP process.

Research Questions

1: Why do many parents fail to express their opinions during the Individualized Education Program process?

2: What is the potential for increased involvement if parents undergo training that educates them about the various aspects of the Individual Education Program process?

3: What is the potential effect of active parent participation in the Individual Education ...

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