Talking to the Student about their IEP

In order to be truly collaborative, the IEP planning process must include input from the student. In fact, “principals are legally required to ensure that all students who are 16 years of age or older are consulted in the development of the IEP”, according to the IEP Resource Guide (Ontario, 2004). 

Click here to access a copy of the IEP Resource Guide, in PDF.

english teacherIncluding students in the IEP process has several key benefits: the IEP is student-centred, and the process promotes both student engagement and student ownership.

Students with LDs can be involved with the IEP process in the following ways:

  • Students can share their strengths and needs
  • Students can identify important learning goals
  • Students can identify accommodations they need to access the curriculum and demonstrate their learning

Students with LDs can also be involved by participating in the transition planning, as a component of the IEP. 

Not all students are aware of their learning goals, strengths, needs, and accommodations. Some students may also feel uncomfortable advocating for themselves in the formal setting of an IEP meeting. Research has shown that the use of explicit instruction to prepare students for an IEP meeting resulted in an increase of goals identified by the students and verbal contributions during the conference that were related to describing learning strengths and weaknesses. 

In order to prepare students for their involvement in the IEP process, researchers identified the following program. The skills in this program had two separate components: SHARE and IPLAN.

The SHARE technique steps were:

S - Sit up straight

H - Have a pleasant tone of voice

A - Activate

R - Relax

E - Engage in eye communication


Once these skills had been learned, instruction in the IPLAN steps began:

I - Inventory strengths, needs, goals, and choices

P - Provide your inventory

L - Listen and respond

A - Ask questions

N - Name your goals

(Ellis et al., 1991)