"What Do I Do When..."
I disagree with the IEP that the team has drafted and I'm asked to sign it?
Parents/guardians often seem confused about the implications of signing- or refusing to sign - their child's IEP. They may believe that by not signing the IEP, they can withhold consent for the IEP. Actually, and somewhat surprisingly, this is not the case. In Illinois, except for the initial IEP, where parents/guardians must consent to the initiation of special education and related services, parental consent is not necessary to effectuate future IEP's. The signature page that gets passed around the IEP table simply records attendance at the meeting - not agreement with the IEP.
So, the good news is that you don't have to fret about signing the IEP meeting attendance page. But the bad news is that whether you agree with the IEP or not, it is going to go into effect.
So, what can you do?
The least adversarial approach is to re-group and try again to advocate for your position at the next IEP meeting (keeping in mind that you can request an IEP meeting at any time; you needn't wait another full year).
However, if you are going to ask the team to come back to the table to reconsider a position that they have previously rejected, it is critical to have new data/or perspectives for the team to consider. CASE can provide advocacy guidance for this meeting. In a future column, we'll get specific about what you might do to shore up your position.
If this approach doesn't work, you can do any of the following:
1. File a State Complaint
2. Request Mediation
3. File for Due Process
Consulting an advocate or attorney beforehand is advised.
This is a lot of information to absorb. If you leave your IEP feeling frustrated, please contact CASE to help you sort through these options. Contact us at (847) 556-8676 or
Do note that if your child is in an educational placement or is receiving services that you want to maintain and the new IEP would change these services and placement, you will want to file for Due Process or request mediation within 10 days of the IEP meeting so that your child can "stay put" in their current placement while the dispute gets worked out.