Severe disabilities

Answer the following question: At what age is it appropriate, ethical, and legal for a student to be part of the IEP development process? What would your response be if a parent requested that his or her child be excluded from the IEP development process?

Answer student discussion:

1. (EL)

I teach students with moderate to severe disabilities. Students are 10 – 12 years old and are functioning between 4 months – 2 years old. Most would not be comfortable sitting through a long meeting and most parents actually prefer that they do not attend due to behaviors or risk of being disruptive. Several students have attended annual IEPs before and they were on an electronic device to pass time. I”m not sure that my students would fully comprehend or be aware of what is being discussed at IEP meetings. My students are well acquainted with the IEP team, which consists of parent(s), teacher, service providers, school psychologist, and our SPED director. Even if there is someone new on the IEP team, most of my students would probably not notice amongst all the others in the room.

My students really do not express much verbally to the development of their IEP. Many changes and adjustments are made after we implement the IEP and observe the reaction and progress of the student. There are clearly things that students like and don’t like and we take those into considerations, especially for goals. Even for my student who is in an academic inclusion setting for part of the day, the desire to participate a grade level class was recommended by parent and not by student.

According to Rothstein and Johnson (2014), the IEP team consists of Gen. Ed. teacher, Special Ed. teacher, parent(s) or other person acting as a parent, other individuals the parent or agency deems to have appropriate knowledge (usually service providers), and the student, in appropriate circumstances (p. 148). For the majority of Special Education, I would think it’s appropriate and ethical for students of any age to participate (even in part) in the IEP development process. However, for the students I teach, I don’t see any benefits or drawbacks to inviting them to be a part of the process. I think it’s up to parent’s discretion and most would rather not “put their child through that.”


Rothstein, L. F., & Johnson, S. F. (2014). Special Education Law (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

2. (Monica) Last year I was a part of a team that audited folders and worked on middle and high school IEP folders and the students that were 14 or older, could attend and to be a part of the IEP meeting. The folders showed that it varied with the student on if they attended the meeting, by if it was appropriate for them to attend and if they could actively participate and contribute to the meeting.

The students I teach in my self-contained class would not be able to be an active participant in the IEP meetings due to their cognitive disability and many being non-verbal. I would agree with one of my parents if they requested their child not attend the IEP meeting because they