IEP Teams

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Massachusetts Law Reform Institute & Justice Center of Southeastern Massachusetts

When your child gets an individualized Education Program (IEP), an IEP team writes the IEP for your child. This team includes you, and your child if they want to be involved. The team meets at least once a year to make decisions based on your child’s individual needs. The IEP lists the services, supports, and accommodations your child gets.

Who is part of my child’s IEP team?

The IEP team is:

  • You, your child’s parent or guardian.
  • At least one of your child’s special education teachers.
  • At least one of your child’s general education teachers, if your child spends time in the general education setting.
  • A professional who is qualified to interpret evaluation results.
    Other people like service providers who may have information about your child. For example, a speech language pathologist or a school adjustment counselor. 
  • A representative of the school district who has the power to approve special education resources for your child. And,
  • Your child. Your child must be invited to the team if they are 14 years old or older. They do not have to attend meetings if they do not want to. If they do not want to attend, they have other ways to share their concerns and opinions. For example, they can write a note to the team, or share their thoughts with a parent or therapist to share for them.


You may invite anyone you would like to attend a Team Meeting.

If it is hard for you to speak or understand English, the school should provide an interpreter for the IEP Team Meeting.

Why is it important for me to go to the team meeting?

You are an important member of the special education team:

  • You can make sure the goals the team set for your child are high. And,
  • You know things about your child that teachers and professionals do not.

Tell the team your concerns about your child’s:

  • Academics,
  • Social skills,
  • Emotional development,
  • Communication skills,
  • Behavior, or
  • Other life skills.

You have the right to:

  • Attend all IEP Team Meetings.
  • Have an interpreter if you need one.
  • Share your concerns about your child’s development.
  • Invite anyone you want to the Team meeting. You can bring a lawyer or advocate, an outside expert, an agency service provider, or a friend or family member. You can bring more than one person if you want to. Tell the school ahead of time if you are bringing a lawyer or advocate to the meeting.
  • Bring an evaluation that someone outside the school did. The team must consider this independent evaluation. If you want the Team to go over an independent evaluation, give the evaluation to the Special Education Coordinator. The school must schedule a Team Meeting within 10 school days after you give them the independent evaluation.
How do I prepare for the team meeting?
  • Write to the school and ask for copies of the evaluation reports before the team meeting. They must give them to you 2 days before the meeting, if you ask for them.
  • Read your child’s progress reports before going to the Team meeting.
    Write a list of:
    • Questions you want to ask your child’s teachers and the evaluator.
    • Concerns about your child’s progress so you can tell the team your concerns.
    • Things your child should be better at.
    • Accommodations your child needs to succeed in school.


The school should not refuse to provide a service because it “costs too much” or is “not available in the district.” If the school refuses to provide services, talk to a lawyer.

If your child is not getting the help they need, tell the team at the team meeting. You can ask the school to re-evaluate your child, or to pay for an independent evaluation.

Does my child attend IEP meetings or have a voice in the process?

Your child can participate in all, or part, of their IEP meeting. It does not matter how old they are.

Once your child is 14, the school must invite your child to the Team Meeting. It is especially important for the team to hear from older children.

It is up to you and your child to decide how they participate in the meeting, or if they participate at all.

Students can participate in:

  • The entire meeting, 
  • The beginning of the meeting,
  • The end of the meeting, or
  • By sending a statement or presentation for the team to see at the meeting.

When your child is 18, your child is an adult and they can make their own educational decisions.

This means they sign their own IEP. But they can decide to:

  • “Delegate” or give you power to make decisions for them and sign their IEP,
  • Share decision making with you, or
  • Make their own decisions.

If you are your 18 year-old’s legal guardian, you can make decisions for your adult child. You need to go to court to become a legal guardian. Also see the Federation for Children with Special Needs brochure, Age of Majority.


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