Aside from the caregivers, general and special education teachers, who are required to attend all IEP meetings in their entirety. There are many potential team members with a specific set of skills and knowledge that may have distinct roles on a students educational team.
Student – We can’t emphasize enough the value of a student attending their IEP meeting as soon as they are able, elementary age if possible. Dycke, Martin, and Lovett (2006), provide an excellent argument for this in their article, Why is the cake on fire?.
District Representative – Another required team member, a special education supervisor, coordinator, or the principal.
Speech therapists – Provide support for students that have needs in the areas of articulation and social communication.
Social workers – Provide support to the students in the areas of social skills and behavior and to the families through finding outside resources and support in the community.
Occupational and physical therapists – Provide support for students that have their education impacted due sensory or physical needs.
Adapted physical education teachers – Provide support for students who qualify for extra support around their involvement in physical education.
Psychologists – Typically provide support during the evaluation of a student and on occasion will meet with students.
Advocate – We realize that the sheer mention of an advocate makes some people very nervous but we really don’t think it should. The true role of an advocate is not to take sides but instead to listen and offer their expertise in the laws and regulations that support special education. We believe that they can provide a great source of comfort to parents and if educators are focused on student success there should be no cause for concern.
This list is long and certainly not exhaustive, there are many different types of specialists that can provide support for students. It is clear that the IEP meetings can get quite large depending on a students needs and sometimes it is necessary to have everyone there. Yet, this is something that should be considered prior to every meeting to ensure that parents are not overwhelmed.
For further information: IDEA Topic Areas