When Schools Change IEP Goals: What Parents Should Know

Parental Rights in School IEP Modifications

When Schools Change IEP Goals: What Parents Should Know

IEP Implementation4/22/2024

When schools alter IEP goals or related accommodations and services, they must do so following applicable laws and set procedures.

The IEP team, including, parents, teachers, school administrators, and other stakeholders, collaboratively develop the IEP goals for students with disabilities.

These goals address each student's unique needs and outline measurable objectives to track progress over time; they help ensure that the student receives appropriate support and services as mandated by the law

How Can Improper Changes in IEP Goals Affect Students and Parents

1. Lack of Transparency

Parents may feel excluded from the decision-making process; this can result in a lack of transparency and trust between the school and the family.

2. Impact on Student Progress

Abrupt changes can impact a student's progress.

The revised goals may not adequately address the student's unique needs and challenges, in case the school does not notify the parents or fails to seek their input.

Parents have legal rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) to be fully informed and involved in developing and reviewing their child's IEP.

Failure to adhere to these rights can lead to legal disputes and challenges.

What Can Parents Do When Schools Change IEPs?

If parents suspect that the school has changed their child's IEP goals without following the due process, they can take various actions to address the situation:

1. Request a Meeting

Schedule a meeting with the school's IEP team to discuss the proposed changes and express concerns about the lack of advance notification.

As per Section 1414 (d) of the IDEA, “In making changes to a child's IEP after the annual IEP meeting for a school year, the parent of a child with a disability and the local educational agency may agree not to convene an IEP meeting for the purposes of making such changes, and instead may develop a written document to amend or modify the child's current IEP.”

2. Review Documentation

Request copies of the student's current IEP and any proposed revisions to understand the changes and their potential impact.

As per Section 1414 (e) of the IDEA, “Changes to the IEP may be made either by the entire IEP Team or, as provided in subparagraph (D), by amending the IEP rather than by redrafting the entire IEP. Upon request, a parent shall be provided with a revised copy of the IEP with the amendments incorporated.”

3. Advocate for the Student

Advocate for the student's best interests; provide inputs on their needs, goals, and progress during the IEP meeting.

If necessary, seek legal advice from an attorney specializing in special education law.

Under IDEA, the school must give parents prior written notice before introducing any major changes to a child's IEP. The changes may involve a special needs student’s IEP goals or services offered to them

An advance notice should typically include:

  • A description of the proposed changes
  • A valid justification for the changes
  • Information about the parent's rights, including the right to request an IEP meeting to discuss the proposed changes

Failure on part of the school to notify parents may have legal implications for the former; such a lapse could imply a potential violation of the IDEA.

Therefore, in such cases, parents can file a complaint with the state education agency or pursue due process to seek resolution.

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