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5 Tips for Therapists at IEP Meetings

5 tips for IEP meetings at www.YourTherapySource.com/blog1

IEP “season” is upon us at most school districts.  The real key to successful IEP meetings is proper preparation.  Here are 5 tips to help therapists participate in successful IEP meetings.

1.  Communicate, communicate, communicate!  One of the most important skills to ensure successful IEP meetings is communication.   Communicate with phone calls, emails or face to face meetings with all members of the student’s IEP meeting.  Send updates home in addition to IEP quarterly progress reports.  Prior to the actual IEP meeting, make sure you have been in touch with parents and teachers regarding planning for next year and goal setting.  Check out School and Home Communication Forms for Therapists at http://yourtherapysource.com/commforms.html

2.  Document throughout the school year using proper data collection.  Collect samples or photos of the student’s work to have a visual image of pre and post therapy interventions.  It is so much easier to justify related services when you have plenty of documentation to show that you are helping the student access the educational curriculum.  In addition, in order to justify summer services, you need to have data showing previous regression over school breaks or long weekends.  You can use Data Tracking Forms for School Based OT and PT to get started.

3.  Be professional and courteous.   Communicate clearly during the meeting and listen carefully,  Respect everyone’s opinions around the table.  Be flexible and open to suggestions regarding your plan for therapy services.  Remember IEP meetings are for the entire team to make decisions not just one person or discipline.

4.  Use everyday terminology.  Make sure that you are not using medical terminology or if you need to use it, define any terms in simple language.  Explain assessments and evaluations in regular terminology – don’t throw out random numbers that won’t mean anything to the team members or student.


5.  Be positive.  Focus on a student’s strengths when reviewing present levels of performance.  Try to utilize those strengths to achieve additional goals for the next school year.   Focus on moving forward and the future rather than rehashing old issues.

Good luck on preparing and attending all the IEP meetings this school year!

Reference:  Jennifer A. Diliberto and Denise Brewer.  Six Tips for Successful IEP Meetings. TEACHING Exceptional Children, Vol. 47, No. 2, pp. 128–135. Copyright 2014 The Author(s). DOI: 10.1177/0040059914553205.


IEP Goals related to the common core for OT/PT from http://yourtherapysource.com/commoncorek2.html


IEP Goals Related to the Common Core for OT/PT Grades K-2

Summary: Here is a large goal bank for school based occupational and physical therapy that is aligned with the English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics common core standards for grades K-2. It is meant to provide guidance and suggestions on relating occupational and physical therapy goals to the common core curriculum in order to establish educationally relevant goals for a student’s individualized education program (IEP).

Find out more at http://yourtherapysource.com/commoncorek2.html