Parental Input Statement on Your Child's IEP Form

Don't miss the chance to have your say

Individualized education plan (IEP) team meetings can be overwhelming, particularly if it's your first. Sitting in a room and listening to a group of people talk about your child's educational abilities can be difficult. But as the parent, you are a critical part of your child's IEP. You have insight into your child that no one else does and it's important to share what you know with the IEP team.

parent teacher meeting
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Giving Parental Input on the IEP

A parent input statement allows you to share your most pressing concerns with your child's IEP team. It's a great way to document your child's strengths and struggles at school and at home. It is your chance to tell the team who your child is beyond their test scores and performance in school.

In some cases, parental input is initially completed by the case manager based on the statements you made at the IEP meeting. If that's the case, review it carefully to ensure it reflects your opinions and input. If you see there have been misperceptions or you disagree with what is written, you can and should clarify. You may also have specific suggestions you want to document. To ensure your insight is incorporated, write up your input and ask for it to be entered into the parental input space on the IEP.

Tips for Writing a Parental Input Statement

Here are some things to keep in mind when writing your input statement:

  • Keep it short. This letter isn't a legal document, so there is no special format you need to follow. It can be as simple as a one-page letter or a list. That being said, bullet points and short statements are easier to understand than lengthy paragraphs. Your child's IEP team will subconsciously thank you for the brevity.
  • Make your language polite and professional. You should raise issues respectfully and clearly. Consider carefully what you want those carrying out this plan to know, and how you want them to think of you and your child.
  • Use facts as much as possible. Try to avoid using emotionally charged statements. For example, instead of, "I am furious because he comes home upset every day," try writing, "Every day Daniel comes home upset and in tears. When I ask him why he says that XYZ is happening during the school day. We need to add a solution to his IEP to prevent this."
  • Discuss what strategies are working. This is where you can highlight what academic or behavioral methods seem to be working. For example, your child may keep getting into conflict when using the student bathroom during crowded breaks or lunch periods. To prevent this conflict, the school nurse allows your child to use the faculty bathroom. Calling attention to successful strategies can be especially helpful if your child ever changes schools.
  • Clearly state your concerns. Be sure to mention any and all educational, functional, social, behavioral, and health concerns you have.
  • Give recommendations. Simply pointing out all of the flaws is important, but what's even more important is naming possible solutions. This is your opportunity to mention what educational and related services you think your child needs and why. Be as specific as possible.

Bring your completed parent input statement with you to your next IEP meeting. Make enough copies for every member of the team, and ask for it to be attached to your child's IEP. This statement is can serve as proof of any objections or concerns you have should any issues come up in due process.

By Terri Mauro
Terri Mauro is the author of "50 Ways to Support Your Child's Special Education" and contributor to the Parenting Roundabout podcast.