Student-Centered IEP Meetings


Have you ever been to an IEP meeting where the student had zero idea why they were there and what was happening?

When it comes to IEP development, WHY are students often not included in conversations that are about THEIR future? 

Who’s future is it, after all?

If you’re not sure where to start with this, I’ve mapped out the steps I follow for each IEP meeting.

Inform Student about Upcoming IEP

First of all, students need to be in the loop about WHAT an IEP meeting is, WHEN it is & WHY they have one (and should be involved). They should understand what their IEP vision means, and that the goals determined at the meeting will be year long. 

After all, the meeting is about THEM. They need to have some background. 

I created a free social narrative that teaches this background that you can download by clicking below:

Explore Future Goals with Student

Now that our students have a better idea of what their IEP and vision are, it’s time to help them think about what their goals are for the next year.

Of course, this is a big question…so it’s best to break it down for students into small chunks by asking specific questions.

One tool I like to use to figure out student goals is a future goal setting worksheet that goes into detail about each of the transition planning domains. 

Click the picture to link to the worksheet. 

Assess Student (With Family Input)

Next, it’s important for you or an evaluator to assess the student, along with the family’s input. It’s important to ask questions across multiple domains, so that you can find out how a student is doing (and what they specifically need to work on).

If you need a checklist for parents to fill out, check out this assessment tool!

To assess the student, you can use a variety of assessments and tools. For readers and non readers, check out this Visual Transition Planning Assessment. 

Support Student to
Create IEP Presentation

Then, it’s time to help students draft their own IEP presentation!

This could be a video, an audio recording, a powerpoint, or any other form of presenting that is appropriate for a student’s unique needs. The presentation can be lengthy or very brief. It can involve speaking or pointing. 

I like to help students include pictures and sometimes audio to support their presenting!

Hold IEP Meeting with Student Leading

The meeting is about them, so their voice needs to be front and center. If possible, it’s great to have the student start the meeting off, so their voice is heard first!

Also, if the student needs to exit the meeting early, they can always do so when necessary.

Help Student Review + Reword Goals

Students should be aware of their own IEP goals, whether it be in picture form, a checklist, via their device, or an accessible document on their computer. 

Since IEP goals are written as jargon, we need to help our students “rewrite” them in easier terms.

See below or an example (or click for a link to the template).

Student will Begin Goal Tracking

A final tip to get students EVEN MORE involved is to teach them to actually track when they work on their goals.

I like to add checklist boxes next to their re-written IEP goals, so that they can visually see what they’ve worked on recently and what they still need to do that week. Students get a new checklist every Monday.

Once you have all these systems in place, it becomes a part of the daily routine. You can even write IEP goals about students taking ownership of their own goals.

Click below for a full bundle with everything you need to get started!