That's right. I'm calling out all the IEP team members that come to the IEP meeting with their own hidden agendas. Sometimes that's even the parent, but most of the time if the parent is "hiding" something, it's because they feel they don't have a voice and need to ambush the team with information to get them to listen. Let's change that. Right now. How? It's actually easier than you think. I help parents ALL the time with taking away the hidden agendas at IEP meetings. YOU can even get the IEP team to reveal more of their agenda or even put their agenda on hold! Ready? Here's the big trick (it's so simple). Write your own IEP agenda and give it to the team before the IEP meeting. This is the only way that you can truly get your concerns taken care of at the meeting with the team present. Here are some tips about how to create your agenda: 1. Make it in a letter formal letter format and put this information at the top: Date, To, From, RE, CC: FILE. 2. Send this letter to EVERYONE who will be at the IEP meeting. 3. Include 3-5 parent concerns that "need to be discussed to ensure your child has an appropriate education" 4. State that if the team feel these concerns will not be fully addressed at the meeting, due to time, that the meeting should be rescheduled to allow time for these concerns and/or if any team members can assist you prior to the meeting, to please reach out. 5. Ask the team to let you know if they are bringing any other specific concerns to the table or if the team has created an agenda you should be aware of. IMPORTANT: I am not including a bullet point to ask for drafts of the goals/IEP. Asking for drafts needs to happen much earlier. Your concerns your listing in this letter are most likely going include questions from the drafts you received. If you don't receive drafts of your child's paperwork...we'll tackle that another day. Here's what happens behind the scenes when you send the letter to everyone... they all start to buzz to see who's going to take care of the various concerns. Then, at the meeting, the person running the meeting typically starts by saying "we've received your concerns and here's how we can address them". That admin then let's you know if you are going to go down the list of concerns or if the team will answer your concerns throughout the flow of the meeting. If your concerns are not addressed at the meeting, you have a paper trail to show you brought concerns and were not treated as an equal member of the team. EMPOWERED! That's how you should feel, sitting with your bullet points you sent earlier to the team. (Oh, send the letter about 2 days prior to the meeting.) When the team gets off topic or your emotions start to rise... use your bullet points to stay on track and tackle your parent concerns with strength and confidence! That's it... decide now... no more hidden agendas. You're going to lay it all out on the table and put your child at the center of the discussion and decisions. If you hate writing letters and you wish someone could just give you a template to follow... Join the Special Education Help Center and get the support you need to find just the right words!