The 2023-2024 school year is upon us. And if you have a child with learning disabilities, it is imperative that your child has the best individualized education plan, (IEP), to successfully help them navigate the school year ahead. According to Dr. Scott A. Roth, Psy.D., here are a few tips on how to get the best IEP for your student.


Before we get to the tips, let’s first make sure that we all know just what an IEP is.

According to the University of Washington, an IEP is completely different from a 504 plan. An Individualized Educational Plan, (IEP) , is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services.

In contrast, a 504 plan is a plan developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives accommodations that will ensure their academic success and access to the learning environment.

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Now, on to the tips that Dr. Roth shared in an article that he wrote for

Build Relationships

Dr. Roth suggests that parents who are in need of securing an IEP need to build relationships with those who can actually help. Building relationships with a child’s teacher, guidance counselor, and administrators from day one, will give them the signal that you want to be a part of your child’s educational team and are there to help them towards success.

“This should start very early in the school year and informally by attending open houses, parent-teacher conferences, and other school events,” Dr. Roth said in his article. “More formally, it will be important for you to share what your experiences have been with your child’s learning difficulties and ask questions about what the professionals are seeing in school.”

Educate yourself about the process

No one expects you to become an expert overnight in special education law; however, becoming familiar with the process prior to any meetings that you have will better help you understand what decisions need to be made for your child. Remember, “educators may be experts in their fields of study, but parents are the experts on their own children.”

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Realize that you are in this for the long haul

Yes, time is of the essence in terms of early intervention; however, Dr. Roth wants parents to make sure that they don’t “let the urgency of day-to-day decision making influence the long-term goals for your child.”

Many schools do not have the resources to make it all work quickly, therefore, parents need to be invested in the process for the long haul. The ultimate goal is to make sure that students are lifelong learners, realizing that there are multiple paths on how to get there.

If your child is in need of an IEP, make sure that you add these tips to your parenting toolbox before you head to your first Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) committee meeting.

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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