On October 17, 2019, Franczek P.C. Special Education team members Dana Fattore Crumley and Emily Tulloch presented at the IAASE 2019 Fall Conference on Fighting Friendly Fire in your IEP: Avoiding Internal Challenges to IDEA Compliance. This session provided an overview of common internal challenges that can sabotage IEP compliance. For a summary of this session and access to the presentation materials, keep reading!
We often think of challenges to the IEP as coming from the outside, but sometimes actions by school employees can create “friendly fire” that puts your IEP at risk. Examples include:
- lack of preparation
- failure to compromise
- refusal to provide required services, and
- over-sharing information outside of the IEP process.
Dana and Emily discussed a number of strategies to address these challenges, such as setting expectations for IEP meetings by identifying responsibilities for team members; setting standards for collaboration, participation, and tone; encouraging collaboration prior to IEP meetings (with a healthy respect for avoiding predetermination, of course); and correcting missteps by using progressive discipline or providing additional training.
We discussed the importance of collaboration with the IEP team throughout the presentation, and a great question was raised about it is appropriate to involve a representative from a high school district on the team for an eighth-grade student who will be transitioning to high school during the upcoming school year. We explained that this is not a requirement, but that a representative from the high school would be a valuable asset during pre-meeting collaborations to gain insight into the programs and expectations at the high school level. We stressed the importance of not making predeterminations when discussing and collaborating prior to IEP team meetings, however, whether that collaboration occurs within your own district or with other representatives.