Each child has the right to access education. After all, this is fundamental for their development. While it is right to say that education starts at home, there will always come the time wherein they would eventually learn in the four corners of the classroom. This right extends to children with special needs.  And for parents of neurotypical children, getting their child enrolled at school is easy. There are no extra procedures or a pile of documents to fill up. Needless to say, it goes rather differently for children with special needs. You have to go through a different process that involves an Individualized Education Plan or IEP meeting. 

Fortunately, if you live in a city like Dubai, there are laws that protect this right. For instance, the UAE government has a framework exclusively for the inclusion of persons of determination in the classroom.  It aims to promote inclusivity in education to further progress towards a society with equal opportunities for all. In addition, there are several learning and therapy centers across the UAE that assist parents in arranging the IEP for their children.

In this blog, we will be discussing more What IEP is, why it is important, and how to navigate IEP meetings for your child. 

What is IEP?

For easier understanding, IEPs are education plans that are tailored specifically for the needs of a child for them to have the best education they can get. And because each child has unique needs, it is only crucial to get an IEP that works effectively. IEP meetings are done on a regular basis to update, review, and revise your child’s IEP if necessary. 

During IEP meetings, your child’s progress is evaluated and necessary actions are applied to further improve the child’s progress to meet his or her current needs. The purpose of this is to provide the best possible ways to help in their socio-economic and academic growth. These meetings are also meant to equip parents with effective ways to support their child’s strengths.

IEPs can be intimidating especially for the first time,  but there are certain actions you can take before the meeting that can help you be prepared and proactively engage in your child’s educational plan.

Who Are The Attendees?

Parents along with their child’s IEP team are expected at an IEP meeting. Your child’s IEP team can include:

  • You, as a parent, play a crucial part in your child’s IEP
  • A School District Representative
  • Special Education Teacher
  • General Education Teacher
  • Your child’s therapist/specialist

It is important for every team member to be present at an IEP meeting. This explains why it is ideal to plan the meetings ahead to make sure everyone can be present.

Know Which Kind Of IEP Meeting You Will Be Attending

IEP meetings can come in different types depending on the agenda. To prepare effectively for a meeting, parents should understand the kind of IEP meeting they are attending. Parents also have the right to request an IEP meeting with their child’s educators to discuss progress and areas to improve. Similarly, educators can also request parents to attend an IEP meeting. 

These are the common types of IEP meetings

  • Initial IEP Meeting
  • Annual Review Meeting
  • Three-Year Review Meeting
  • Special Request Meetings


Request and Review Specialist Evaluations Prior To The Meeting

During initial meetings or any type of IEP meeting, you or your child’s school can request outside specialists for evaluation to determine your child’s needs in school. Since these evaluations are carried out by experts, results can be very detailed and may contain jargon that is difficult to understand. If that’s the case, do not hesitate to clarify these things to the specialist. It is important to read through your child’s evaluation which should include recommendations as well. 

Be Knowledgeable Of Possible Autism-Specific Accommodations

During your child’s IEP meeting, expect your team to discuss and propose accommodations for your child. These are procedures and instruments that educators can use that will allow your child to participate in an inclusive classroom and have equal access to class instruction. Since no two children with ASD have the same needs, IEPs also vary. Nonetheless, there are general, research-based accommodations your child’s IEP team may recommend. This can include:

  • Setting accommodations
    • These are modifications in the classroom that further facilitate the education of a child. These can include special acoustics, lighting, and a room with few distractions. 
  • Presentation accommodations
    • These are different adjustments on how information is presented in the classroom such as implementing audio recordings instead of written text, textbooks with few words per line and big fonts, and utilization of visual aids such as images during lessons. 
  • Timing accommodations
    • Depending on how long it takes for a child to complete tasks, finish tests or accomplish a project, timings can be adjusted. 
  • Scheduling accommodations
    • At times, children under an IEP require adjustments in scheduling their tasks. This may include designating a specific time of the day to take their tests or segmenting it, at different times throughout the same day.
  • Response accommodations
    • These changes the way children under IEP complete assignments, tasks, projects and tests.  It usually entails giving responses in a form that’s easier for them to understand. This also involves the use of devices such as spell checkers and dictionaries to further accommodate their learning responses. 
  • Organization skill accommodations
    • Accommodations like these are done to improve a child’s time management, assignment coordination, and overall organization. Educators encourage the use of planners, alarms, and other devices to help them improve their organization skills.

Learning centers can assist parents of special needs children in preparing for their child’s IEP meetings and further support them throughout the whole process of implementation. If you need to learn more about inclusivity and IEPs talk to our experts at the Pulse Learning Center. 


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