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Tips To Navigate IEP (Individualized Education Program)

Karyna SItkowski


The school year can be stressful for both parents and children, but it can be even more stressful when it comes to helping your child who needs IEP ( Individualized Education Program). IEP's are plans created for a child with disabilities to ensure they have extra support and services to help during the school year. The Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a "law that makes available a free appropriate public education to eligible children with disabilities throughout the nation and ensures special education and related services to those children." Below are some tips to help you manage the process to make sure both you and your child have a successful school year. If your child is struggling, please reach out to your school and see what options they can offer.


  • Take Deep Breaths

IEP teams can be a difficult thing to navigate due to the many people it takes to create and implement an IEP program. When you get overwhelmed, do your best to take deep breaths. It can be difficult for parents to find time for themselves, but if possible, find a quiet place (outside, inside your car, etc.) and do a deep breathing exercise even for just a minute or so. Try the 4-7-8 technique. Take a deep breath through your nose and for a count of four. Hold the breath for a count to seven. Then, slowly breathe out for a count of 8 seconds.


  • Be Prepared 

Take some time to write down your concerns and questions to ask your school and IEP team. Make sure to ask your child their concerns and questions as well to help educators understand their needs and wants for the school year.


  • Advocate and Speak Up

You know your child better than anyone. If you feel changes need to be made and you or your child are unhappy with something, don't be afraid to advocate and speak up!

  • Find Support

As a parent, you love your child more than anything, but it is ok to feel overwhelmed or upset with a situation. Make sure you are surrounded by social support such as family, friends, coworkers, or fellow parents. Look into support groups around you or even check out social media pages to link up with other parents.


For more information and assistance, please go to the State of Michigan IEP site.

Michigan Alliance For Families IEP Information:



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