Establishing An Individualized Education Program
At the end of the IEP, the school district will ask you to sign the document. You don’t have to sign it on the spot. Think about what the district has offered. You can ask for a break or even take it home and return it another day. Of course, if you agree with the entire IEP, it is always best to sign it so the program can begin immediately.
Before you sign, however, ask to read the entire document (including the IEP notes) and make sure everything agreed upon is documented accurately. You can also agree on certain parts, but not others (e.g. you agree on related services, but not placement – sign the document and state that you agree with the services but not placement). If you disagree with parts of the IEP, spell out your disagreements on the parent dissent page.
Writing On The IEP
Make sure that you know what statements are entered onto the IEP document and state any objections immediately. This is especially important on the IEP notes. Every IEP has a page where someone in the school staff is writing down notes during the IEP meeting. If you disagree on a particular issue, make sure your objections are accurately documented in the IEP notes. If the note taker does not write down your position, then request a separate page. Label this page “parent dissent” and record your point of view and ask that it is attached to the IEP.
You have an absolute right to state your position, but if the school district does not attach your dissent, indicate the following on the signature page: 1) that you do not agree with everything in the IEP document, and 2) that you want to attach a dissent but the school administration would not allow you to do so. Then file a complaint with the California Department of Education on the basis that the school district failed to allow you to participate in the IEP process.