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Recent OSEP Decision Highlights How Important it is For Parents to Request Documents Before IEP Meetings by Alison Morris, Esq.

Posted on April 1, 2020

A September 9, 2019 Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) letter explained “neither IDEA nor its implementing regulations establish a timeline for providing a copy of the evaluation report or the documentation of determination of eligibility to parents. Likewise, IDEA does not prescribe a timeline for sharing the results of assessments conducted as part of the child’s evaluation or reevaluation.”

OSEP, however, reiterated that under the law parents have the right to meaningfully participate in their child’s individualized education program (IEP) process. To bridge these two concepts together – that parents need to be able to meaningfully participate in IEP meetings but the law does not require schools to provide parents evaluations or reports before IEP meetings – OSEP stated that: “public agenc[ies] must comply with a parent’s request to inspect and review existing educational records, including an evaluation report, without unnecessary delay and before any meeting regarding an IEP, and in no case more than 45 days after the request has been made.”

Therefore, when you receive a meeting notice for an IEP meeting, or any meeting to discuss your child’s needs, you should immediately request that the school send you any evaluations, reports, or documents it will be using at that meeting, for your review. Since, under New York law (Part 200.5(c)) you should be receiving IEP meeting notices at least five days in advance of any Committee on Special Education (CSE) meeting, if you request documents for that meeting at that time you should have at least five days to review those documents. If you do not receive timely meeting notices, or do not get documents for meetings timely, you can always request to reschedule that meetings once you have had sufficient time to review your child’s evaluations and other documents. This is so that you can have enough time be prepared for your child’s meeting and be a meaningful participant, as the law requires.

As parents and siblings of special needs children, we at the Cuddy Law Firm understand the importance of IEP meetings, and how important it is to receive and review records before thee meetings. If you have questions or concerns about how your child’s IEP meetings are being conducted, the Cuddy Law Firm is available to discuss and answer any questions you might have.




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