Frequently Asked Questions about IEP Volunteers
Who are IEP Volunteers?
- IEP Volunteers are first and foremost volunteers.
IEP Volunteers are not staff members or professional advocates. They are parents and professionals who have experience attending IEP meetings.
- IEP Volunteers are trained volunteers.
IEP Volunteers have been trained by THRIVE Center on how to write effective IEPs, advocacy strategies, and the basic of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
- IEP Volunteer services are free.
There is no cost to parents or adult youth.
How Best do I Utilize an IEP Volunteer?
- Advanced Notice.
We ask that you please contact the IEP Volunteer with as much advanced notice as possible in order to ensure you have time to go over your priorities for the meeting and to let them arrange their schedules accordingly.
- Preparation is Key!
Make the most of your time with the IEP Volunteer. Please prepare in advance of contacting an IEP Volunteer by outlining your concerns/ priorities and where you feel you need most help.
- Your Voice is Most Powerful!
The IEP Volunteer’s role is NOT to advocate or speak for the parent. Their job is to empower and prepare you, the parent, to meaningfully participate in your child’s meeting and act in the role of advocate for your child. IEP Volunteers will be supportive and take notes, if requested, at the IEP meeting while parents focus on their agenda and participate in the meeting.
- IEP Volunteers are not appropriate for all situations:
IEP Volunteers are not appropriate for pre-eligibility meetings, parent/teacher conferences or (informal) parent/administrator meeting’s, dispute resolution meetings, or 504 Plan meetings. Should you require assistance in these sorts of meetings, please contact the THRIVE Center for a list of professional advocates.
How do I Stay a Strong IEP Volunteer?
- Remain in contact with THRIVE Center about your match.
We want to know what is and is not working. We want to continue to be available to both the parent and the IEP Volunteer for advising and other support as needed. Do not hesitate to call or email us.
- Please complete an evaluation of the IEP Volunteer Program after you have your IEP Meeting.
We would like to understand better the impact of this program and to receive feedback if there is additional information that would be helpful to improve our program.
- Please feel free to share information about the IEP Volunteer Program with others.
If you know of a parent who requires assistance, please have them contact the THRIVE Center to request support through the IEP Volunteer program. We would like to discuss with the parent the appropriateness of using an IEP Volunteer in their situation.