Does your child have an IEP?

Learn how to become a better advocate for your child

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These videos were created to help parents learn more about special education, including skills to help them be more effective advocates for their children. It is designed for parents whose child already has an Individualized Educational Plan (IEP).

Legal Advocates for Children and Youth is part of the Law Foundation of Silicon Valley. LACY attorneys help children with special education needs by assisting their parents, who hold their educational rights. This series of videos is not legal advice but contains useful information to assist parents.


1. Introduction

This 5-minute video explains why we created this series and what we hope you we learn from watching these videos. It also introduces Esmeralda, our partner from Parents Helping Parents, a nonprofit that helps empower and support parents of children with special needs. We explain the laws involved in special education and give you one parent’s perspective on the IEP process.


2. Who attends an IEP?

This 4-minute video introduces all the key members of an IEP team, including the most important member – the child’s parent. An IEP meeting cannot happen without you. Each member of the IEP team is introduced and you will learn a bit about their different concerns.


3. What parents should know

This 4-minute video contains expert information to help you prepare for your child’s IEP meeting. It describes the meeting, the IEP paperwork, who attends an IEP and reminds you of important legal rights all parents have.


4. Getting the IEP meeting started

This 6-minute video is a simulation of what an actual IEP meeting might be like, including how you as a parent can effectively let the whole team know about your concerns.


5. IEPs can be emotional

This 3-minute video highlights specific skills displayed by the parent in video 4, as well as some of the challenges she faced. We know it can be tough for a parent listening to school personnel talk about your children. The IEP meeting might bring up strong emotions – so we give you some tips.


6. What are measurable goals?

This 2-minute video is a simulation of an IEP meeting where Measurable Goals are discussed. Measurable Goals are very important to your child’s educational success. We explain that goals need to be SMART – that means Specific; Measurable; using Action words; Realistic and Time limited.


7. Importance of measurable goals

This 2-minute video reminds parents that the goals set out in your child’s IEP dictate what services will be provided to your child. Understanding your child’s goals is a way for you to be able to tell if they are making progress in school. Progress against goals is connected to the services your child needs; that is why goals are important.


8. Seeking parental consent

This 2.5-minute video is a simulation of the end of an IEP meeting. Sometimes, this is when the school may really want the parent to “sign off” and give consent but the parent may not be ready. It shows how a parent can get more time if they need it and explains what happens if you do not sign.


9. Consent and final thoughts

This 2-minute video concludes this series with our experts reminding parents of their rights, including that a parent does not need to sign off on an IEP document if they disagree with it or need more time to understand it.


Thank you for watching these videos! We hope you have learned new skills that will help you advocate for your children. If you have questions about special education, please contact LACY at (408) 280-2416 or go to

You can also contact Parents Helping Parents at (408)727-5775 or

Funding made possible through the United States Department of Justice, Victims of Crime Act, 2015-VA-GX-XXXX

Special thanks to Fenwick & West, Mountain View, CA

Video Editing by Solomon Onita, Jr., Los Angeles, CA