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Etiquette for Telephone Conference IEP Meetings. Philip Patterson Coordinator of Special Education California State University, Bakersfield Shandelyn Williams Director of Special Education Antelope Valley Union High School District Agenda.

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Philip PattersonCoordinator of Special EducationCalifornia State University, BakersfieldPPatterson@csub.eduShandelyn WilliamsDirector of Special EducationAntelope Valley Union High School

  • Housekeeping Items
  • Changes to IDEIA 2004
  • Legal Issues of Conducting Telephone Conference IEPs
  • Rationale
  • Technology
  • Common IEP Problems
  • Advantages and Disadvantages
  • Guidelines
  • Final Thoughts
  • Handouts (
  • Evaluations
  • Questions
anticipated audience
Anticipated Audience
  • Parents
  • Administrators
  • Teachers
  • Community Service Providers
  • Consumers
accidental tourists
Accidental Tourists
  • Graciously excused if:
    • Already familiar with protocol for conducting telephone conference IEP meetings
    • Looking for general issues concerning IEP dos and don’ts
    • Expecting comprehensive IEP training
    • Not involved in the IEP process
    • You’re a know-it-all 
changes to ideia 2004
Changes to IDEIA 2004
  • Revises language regarding members of the IEP team
  • Identifies when IEP team meeting attendance is not necessary
  • Authorizes excusals from IEP meetings
  • Adds new provisions for making changes to the IEP
  • Encourages consolidation of IEP meetings


ideia 2004
IDEIA 2004

When conducting IEP team meetings and

placement meetings pursuant to Sections 614,

615(e), and 615(f)(1)(B), and carrying out

administrative matters under Section 615 (such as

scheduling, exchange of witness lists and status

conferences), the parent of a child with a disability

and an LEA may agree to use alternative means of

meeting participation, such as video conferences

and conference calls. [614(f)]

  • Some parents work, finding it difficult to attend in-person IEP meetings.
  • Some parents may find locating childcare during IEP meetings difficult.
  • Parents/caregivers with health problems may find physically difficult to attend in-person IEP meetings.
  • Some parents/caregivers may find it intimidating to participate in face-to-face IEP meetings.
Telephone conferences provide an alternative means for parents/caregivers to participate in the IEP process.
teleconference vs telephone conference

Use of telecommunication

equipment to conduct



Telephone Conferencing


Instant Messaging

Video Conferencing

Telephone Conference

Use of a telephone to

conduct collaborative


Teleconference vs. Telephone Conference
three way calling
Three-Way Calling

Allows more than 2 parties to communicate at the same time. This option may involve operator assistance depending on your telephone service.

telephone relay services
Telephone Relay Services

Allows one party with a


communicate with an

operator who then

relays the message

orally to a third party.

common iep problems
Common IEP Problems
  • Environment
  • Seating Arrangement
  • Unfamiliarity with Special Education Policies and Procedures
  • Absence of sensitivity towards cultural and language differences
  • Lack of student participation
Due Process Issues: Hawaii
due process issues california http www oah dgs ca gov special education default htm
Due Process Issues: California
  • (2nd Quarter 06-07)
  • Eligibility 84
  • Goals and Objectives 173
  • Placement 575
  • Other Designated Instruction and Services 274
  • ABA / One-to-One Aid 320
  • Speech and Language 251
  • Occupational Therapy 163
  • Mental Health Services 67
  • Private Services 484
  • Discipline 12
  • Assessment 312
  • Extended School Year 98
  • Reimbursement 276
  • Compensatory Education 201
  • Separate Procedural Issues 123
advantages of telephone conference iep meetings
Advantages of Telephone Conference IEP Meetings
  • Allows parents to participate in the process without physically being present
  • May act as a “safe haven” for parents/caregivers intimidated by the process
  • Minimal expenditures
  • No need to reschedule meetings
  • Allows for timelines to be met
  • Absence of visual cues, body language and other forms of non-verbal communication
  • Communication difficulties may be exacerbated due to language differences
  • May not be effective for “high profile” issues
  • Potential technical difficulties
  • Parents would be unable to view pertinent documents during the meeting
  • Parents would not be able to sign documents during the meeting
  • Can be time intensive
general principle of telephone conference iep meetings
General Principle of Telephone Conference IEP Meetings

Strive for courtesy and

effective communication.

  • Forethought about documents
  • Develop an agenda*
  • Check Equipment
  • Discuss procedures with parents and staff prior to the meeting
  • Conduct meeting in a low traffic area
common iep agenda

Welcome, explanation of purpose & roles

Participant introductions


Agenda Overview

Explanation of child and parent rights

Decision making process

Ground Rules

Present Performance Levels

Strengths & Challenges

Assessment information and parent input

Review of current goals and objectives

Goals and Objectives

What do we want the student to know, understand and do in a year?

Transition Plan (if applicable)

What activities will support the student’s transition from school to adult living?

Placement and Services

Where will goals and objectives be implemented?

Percentage of time outside of general education

Services to support placement


Confirm agreements

Obtain signatures

Common IEP Agenda
guidelines cont
Guidelines (Cont.)
  • Team members should convene together at the same time
  • Assign a meeting facilitator who conducts:
    • Introductions
    • Reviews purpose of meeting and agenda
    • Requests that courtesies be followed
      • Cell phones off
      • Call waiting disabled
      • Identify self when speaking
      • Speak clearly
    • Requests that courtesies be followed (cont.)
      • Direct voices towards receiver
      • Avoid cross conversations
      • Avoid background noises (e.g., paper shuffling, scraping chairs, pencil tapping, etc.)
  • Team members should avoid using body language or gesturing to communicate
  • Team members should address each other by name
  • Quiet moments should be identified by the facilitator
  • A back-up facilitator might be identified to fill lulls should the facilitator become preoccupied with paperwork.
guidelines cont28
Guidelines (Cont.)
  • Don’t use the “hold” button
  • The facilitator should repeat or summarize salient issues
  • Parents should be asked for input throughout the meeting
  • The facilitator should formally close the meeting by thanking team members and stating when paperwork can be expected
tape recorded meetings
Tape Recorded Meetings

Guidelines for tape recorded

meetings are a regional

issue. States or school

districts may have their own

specific policies. Twelve

states require that all parties

in a telephone conversation

have knowledge and give

consent to being tape


states requiring knowledge and consent









New Hampshire



States Requiring Knowledge and Consent
reconsider using telephone conference iep meetings when
Reconsider Using Telephone Conference IEP Meetings When:
  • Communication is difficult because of language differences
  • Translation/Interpreter services are needed
  • Drastic changes to services will be considered
  • Highly sensitive issues will be discussed
reconsider using telephone conference iep meetings when cont
Reconsider Using Telephone Conference IEP Meetings When (Cont.) :
  • Technical assessment reports will be discussed
  • Attorneys and/or advocates will be in attendance
  • Unique requests are being made
  • The meeting centers on imminent transition services
  • Conflict and/or hostility is a potential
parents perspective
Parents’ Perspective
  • Agenda
  • Take notes
  • Determine if any additional Issues/surprises will be addressed?
  • Who is in attendance or will be in attendance?
  • Don’t be intimidated to ask for clarity
  • When can the actual IEP document be expected?
  • Does the actual IEP document match with what was communicated?
on line resources
On-Line Resources
  • The National Dissemination Center for Children with Disabilities (NICHCY) is a product of the Academy of Educational Development. The web site includes several IEP related fact sheets, guides, and resources for parents, students, and professionals.
  • U. S. Department of Education developed A Guide to the Individualized Educational Program in 2000. The basic information in this document is pertinent to family members and professionals.
  • Educational Resources Information Center and the Council for Exceptional Children offer several fact sheets, digests, and resources on IEPs.
  • Attorneys and special education advocates Pete and Pam Wrightslaw sponsor a site with numerous flyers, articles, documents and links concerning IEPs and IDEIA 2004.
hardcopy resources
Hardcopy Resources
  • Klor, G. (2003). What every parent needs to know about special education. Arlington,VA: LRP Publications.
  • Siegel, L. M. (2007). The complete IEP guide: How to advocate for your special education child. Berkley, CA: NOLO.
  • Bateman, B. D. & Linden, M. A. (2006). Better IEPs: How to develop legally correct and educationally useful programs. Verona, WI. Attainment Company.
  • Twachtman-Cullen, D., Twachtman-Reilly, J., & Holmes, D. L. (2002) How well does your IEP measure up? Quality indicators for effective service delivery. Higgamem, CT: Starfish Specialty Press.
  • Council for Exceptional Children (1999). IEP team guide. Arlington, VA: Author.

Telephone Conference IEP meetings are the exception

not the rule.