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5 Tips for Therapists at IEP Occupational Therapy, PT or Speech Meetings

 

The real key to successful IEP occupational therapy, physical therapy or speech services meetings is proper preparation.

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

Suggestions for a Successful IEP Occupational Therapy Meetings

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.  Need help to get started? Check out the School and Home Communication Forms.

Document

Be sure to 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 to help show progress at IEP Occupational Therapy or Physical Therapy meetings.

How to Write IEP goals

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.

Use everyday terminology during IEP Occupational Therapy and Related Service Meetings.

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.  Need help writing up evaluations?  Read more on that here.

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. Read more on focusing on student’s strengths here.

Good luck on preparing and attending all the IEP occupational therapy, physical therapy or any related service meetings this school year!  Here are some suggestions for before you write your goals this year.

Teachers, therapists, students, and parents can learn to write measurable IEP goals with How to Write SMART IEP Goals workbook because it teaches you how to follow the SMART principles of goal writing.

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 "season" is upon us at most school districts.  The real key to successful IEP occupational therapy, physical therapy or speech services meetings is proper preparation.  Here are 5 tips to help therapists participate in successful IEP meetings.