If You are Not Writing a Parent Concerns Letter Before the IEP You are Missing an Opportunity to Collaborate


If You are Not Writing a Parent Concerns Letter Before the IEP You are Missing an Opportunity to Collaborate

If you are a parent of a child with special needs, attending an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting is essential to ensure that your child’s individual needs are being met. However, one crucial step, often forgotten, is writing a parent concerns letter before meeting with the IEP team. This letter serves as an opportunity for you to voice any issues or concerns about your child’s education and to be part of the decision-making process. In addition, writing a parent concerns letter allows you to be an active participant in the IEP meeting and ensures that your child’s needs are taken into consideration.

What is a Parent Concerns Letter?

A parent concerns letter is a document that parents should submit to the IEP team before an IEP meeting. It outlines the parent’s concerns and expectations for your child’s education. It serves as a map for the IEP team to ensure that all of your parent’s concerns are addressed and on the agenda of the meeting. By submitting a parent concerns letter, you can make sure your voice is heard in the meeting and that your wishes are considered. In short, preparing a comprehensive parent concerns letter is essential for any family seeking special education services for their child. Doing so will help ensure your child’s unique needs are understood and properly addressed throughout their educational journey.

When to Send It

Send the Parent Concerns Letter before an IEP meeting. This letter should be sent at least two weeks prior to the IEP meeting to give the school time to review and address any questions or issues that may arise. You could also send a parent concerns letter when you have concerns about the IEP mid-year, before the annual IEP. (Do YOU know you, the parent, can call an IEP meeting anytime you feel you have concerns that must be addressed?) Sending a concerns letter allows for any needed special education services or changes to be considered before the meeting. Following up with the school one week before the IEP meeting is also recommended to make sure your letter is still on their radar.

What to Include

A parent concerns letter should include:

  • a description of your child’s strengths and joys that you would like to share with the team
  • a vision for what you hope for your child in the short and long term.
  • outline specific concerns about academics, social, emotional, and behavioral areas
  • any desired goals, services, or accommodations related to special education that could be beneficial
  • anything that is working well for your child in the current IEP
  • anything that is not working and you want to address

I recommend you put your items in bullet points, because it makes referencing and navigating your letter easy and is a built-in checklist for the team.

Side note: If you send your letter outside the expected annual review IEP, you will want to include a request to meet as an IEP team to discuss your concerns.

How to Format It

When writing a parent concerns letter for an IEP, it is important to remember that it does not need to be formal or filled with special education jargon. Instead, this is simply an opportunity for parents to provide their perspective on their child’s educational needs and advocate for appropriate support and services.

Begin by addressing the letter to the entire IEP team. This sets the tone of the letter, letting everyone know you value them as a team member. (Make sure you include them on the email as well).
Next, you should include a brief introduction of your child, especially if there are team memeber that do not know your child very well. This should include their name, age, things they love to do, and how they brighten your day.

After the introduction, list your concerns in bullet points. This will help make the letter easier to read and will help draw attention to the specific areas that need to be addressed.

Finally, end the letter with a brief closing. This should include a thank you to the IEP team for their time and dedication to educating your child and a reminder that they are welcome to contact the parent with any questions or concerns.

Conclusion

Writing a Parent Concerns Letter for an IEP is an important step in advocating for your child’s special education needs. When done, you can feel confident that your voice has been heard and that your child will have the support they need to thrive. Remember, you are part of the team. By taking the time to write this letter and collaborate with the team, you are signaling that you expect your child's needs to be met.

Talk to Lisa about your concerns

If you are still feeling hesitant, Lisa will meet with you hear your story and understand your concenrs and draft the parent concerns letter for a fee. If you would like to take advantage of this service email me at lisa@advocating4faireducation.com or hit the contact tab at the top of the page.