Parents are equal partners during the IEP process. The goal is to provide the best learning environment for the individual child. Your expertise as the parent is just as important as the clinical assessments and school generated reports.

Think of the IEP process as a negotiation. You do not have to accept what the school is offering as the final offer. Talk about what YOU think will help your child. Learn about what accommodations and modifications available to your child and work WITH the school district to create a favorable learning environment for your child.

The school personnel are the advocates for the school and school district – they want to teach your child with the fewest accommodations and modifications. You need an advocate for your child – to make sure that your child gets what he/she needs and deserves.

If you do not think that the IEP addresses the needs of your child, you DO NOT need to sign the agreement.

If you do not understand something, ASK. Be sure to ask as many questions as you need until you understand what is being said.

Always look to the future… are there accommodations that your child may not need now, but may need in the future? Ask for them now.


It is the school’s job to teach students how to read, write, spell, do arithmetic and generally prepare students for life after school. Sometimes, children need accommodations (changes to HOW a child learns) or modifications (changes to WHAT a child learns) to help them succeed.

Common accommodations:

  • Providing a tutor
  • Assigning a note-taker
  • Permitting computer use
  • Tape recording class lectures
  • Extra time to complete tests / assignments
  • Quite environment for test taking
  • Different test formats

Common modifications:

  • Shorter, modified assignments
  • Reducing work to what is relevant to the child
  • Omitting higher math facts
  • Simplifying homework or assignments
  • Reducing the number of concepts taught at a time
  • Giving different tests