As your child’s best advocate, you can take steps to make sure he’s benefitting from his IEP.

An Individualized Educational Program (IEP) is a legally binding document created for public school children who need special educational accommodations. Developed by teachers and staff with input from parents, a child’s IEP addresses his unique learning issues and includes detailed education goals. It specifies services and support that a child will receive during the school year.

If your child with autism is getting his first IEP, congratulations. This is the starting point of having his needs and your concerns addressed by his school. You’ll want to make sure that you’re doing everything you can to see that his IEP is being followed. You are the best advocate for your child.

The following tips will help you keep track of your child’s progress in meeting his IEP goals:

  • Check in with your child’s primary teacher frequently. Your child may not be able to communicate with you about his IEP services and goals.
  • Know the names and roles of every special educator assigned to your child. Find out what services they provide and on which days.
  • Be proactive. Contact the IEP team leader if you feel the IEP isn’t being followed.
  • If the situation doesn’t improve, request a special IEP team meeting with all assigned special educators; you don’t have to wait until the next yearly meeting to address any problems.
  • Go over your child’s progress reports. IEPs should include measurable goals that are reported to you on specified dates.
  • Try to read between the lines about your child’s progress or lack thereof. Talk to your child and listen carefully to what he says or doesn’t say about his time at school.

If you have additional questions about your role in the IEP process, it may be helpful to contact our care coordination team.

We recognize that every child is unique and that the content of this article may not work for everyone. This content is general information and is not specific medical advice. We hope these tips will serve as a jumping-off point for finding the best approach to helping a child with autism. Always consult with a doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns about the health of a child. In case of an urgent concern or emergency, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency department right away. Some physicians and affiliated healthcare professionals on the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta team are independent providers and are not our employees.