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Understanding the Special Education Process: Annual Reviews (3 of 3)

The special education process can be difficult to navigate. It can be intimidating and challenging, but the process was put in place to be a resource for children and the families that need it. In my previous posts I discussed the referral process and IEPs. If you missed them, please read Part 1 and Part 2. Today I want to wrap up this series by discussing the annual review meeting.

Once a student is classified eligible for special education services and the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) is implemented, the process does not end there. The IEP is written with an implementation and end date. That means it has a start and an end and the goals and services written in the document coincide with those dates. Towards the end of that period you will be invited to another meeting for an “Annual Review.” The annual review meeting may consist of the teacher(s), the case manager, and any related service providers (i.e. speech, occupational, physical therapists) The participants will discuss your child’s progress towards meeting the goals that were outlined in the IEP at the IEP meeting. Remember the goals written in the IEP are an estimate of what each professional believes your child can accomplish in one year. The annual review meeting is your opportunity to find out how he/she has done in reaching those targets.

In my experience, parents often fail to attend the annual review meeting. This is a step you shouldn’t skip! It is a scheduled opportunity for you to have face time with the people who work with your child on a day-to-day basis. You can review the current goals and discuss the plan for the upcoming school year. As the parent or caregiver you are still an integral part of the team. And you will remain a member of the team as long as your child remains eligible for special education services. Stay informed and remain involved!

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