Appendix A: Parent Action Tools
Becoming a Full Participant on Developing Your Child's IEP
Clarifying Your Goals for Your Child




By law, parents are guaranteed the right to be full and equal participants in the development of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for their children.  However, sometimes, as parents, our level of participation is limited due to a sense that our input is not valued or taken seriously.  At times, we lack confidence in our own abilities to determine appropriate goals for our children.  To establish effective home-school partnerships and become full participants in the process, we as parents need to learn how to present our unique knowledge of our children to the other members of the team.

The Parent Involvement Tools included in this section will help you share your ideas with your Child Study Team.  This is YOUR data and will help you shape your agenda items for discussion.  Ask that the information be included as part of the IEP development.  We are giving you sample forms to use as a guide.  We also provide you with blank forms for your child.

The first group of materials in this section is centered around the theory of Multiple Intelligences.  In addition to information about this theory, we have included some tests that can help you identify the areas in which your child shows strengths, and strategies you and your child's teacher(s) can use to take advantage of those strengths.  The information you gather from this section can be reflected on their Positive Student Profile.

The "Positive Student Profile" enables parents to provide the team with a "snapshot" of their child, focusing on the child's strengths and capabilities.  The form also reflects information concerning the child's educational needs, long-range goals, and the types of supports required for the student to succeed.  The "Goals-At-A-Glance" form provides a format for the parents to present the major goals they feel the IEP should address.  Another use of this form is to provide a shortened version of the IEP for the classroom teacher, which can be updated as necessary to reflect the student's most current needs.  We recommend that you complete these forms and send them to the team two weeks before the IEP meeting so that your input can be reflected in the working copy of the document presented at the meeting.  You should also bring copies of these forms to the meeting to ensure that the discussion incorporates the points you have outlined.

We encourage you to fill out the following forms with your team.  The Classroom Activity Analysis Worksheet is not an activity that you can do by yourself because you need some input from the Child Study Team and teacher.  This will help you determine the nature of supports and adaptations needed to ensure success.  IEPs can become very lengthy.  Therefore, summarizing the information on the IEP Goal/Activity Matrix can make a tremendous difference, particularly to your child's teacher.  He or she will have a brief reminder that can be reviewed each week as lesson plans are developed.  Encourage your child's teacher to keep the Positive Student Profile together with the IEP Goal/Activity Matrix because it will serve as a reminder of the child's interests.

In addition, we have included Questions for the Collaborative Team to Ask, which, if completed prior to and during the school year, will facilitate the development of an appropriate IEP.  An IEP Checklist is also provided which can be used as a guide to insure that your IEP has all the required components. 

Remember, we think these Parent Involvement Tools can really help you develop an effective program for your child.  Use the forms you are comfortable with or develop your own.  But the important issue here is that you get on the team and make your views known.  These tools cannot be discussed in a thirty-minute meeting to plan for next year, so let your team know you want sufficient time to discuss your views.  Ask that they review your information before the meeting and also provide you written reports and assessments in advance, so that the focus of the meeting is the planning process.

Top of page


Too often, families like ours that include a child with disabilities get so involved in "treating" the disabilities that we neglect to allow ourselves the time to dream about future goals for our children and ourselves.  We need to believe that we have some control over the future, and that our children will be allowed the choices and fulfillment that people without disabilities take for granted.  The more positive experiences our children have in the real world, the easier it is for us to envision how our children will contribute to our communities in adulthood.  These experiences also enable us to refine and revise our vision, based upon the emerging strengths our children display.

Rud and Ann Turnbull of The Beach Center on Families and Disabilities in Kansas talk about the need for us to have "Great Expectations" for our children:

"Great Expectations are for everyone.  All of us have dreams, visions and anticipations for the future.  Most of us go out into the world, get feedback from it, and alter our dreams, visions and anticipations.  Like everyone else, people with disabilities and their families have Great Expectations; like everyone else, they too need help to be able to have their expectations come true."

It is important for our children to have opportunities and experiences in the real world so that we can begin to develop these Great Expectations for their future.  Inclusive Education will provide these opportunities for our children.  To begin planning for including your child, it is important for you to give some thought to clarifying your own goals for your child.  Some areas that you might want to consider are:

  • What do you want for your child's future?
  • What kinds of skills will your child need to succeed in the future you envision?
  • What school programs and activities might help your child develop these skills?
  • What supports and services are needed for your child to be involved in these programs and activities?
  • What additional programs, services, supports and activities are necessary to meet your child's unique needs?

This type of long-range planning will help you to know what short-term goals are appropriate for your child.  This input will be helpful when you, as part of the planning team, begin to develop an Individualized Education Plan for your child's inclusive education program.

Excerpt from The Beach Center on Families and Disability, Families and Disability Newsletter, Volume 2, Number 1, Spring 1990

Top of page