The presentation will be a synopsis of the following research and a discussion of how to effectively apply the results to the creation of an IEP training program for teachers. Parent participation in Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings is a requirement of the IDEA. While the goal of this stipulation is that parents are meaningfully involved in their children’s educational planning, the reality has often been quite different. The current study aims to discover if teachers can speak to parents in a way that encourages them to participate more actively. Furthermore, in what ways can a teacher’s speech encourage parents in their role as a participant in an IEP meeting? And can an intervention to improve parent involvement change the way a teacher’s speech encourages parents in their role as a participant in an IEP meeting? A multiple baseline across participants study was conducted to test the effect of a one-time, 4-hour IEP training for teacher candidates on parent participation in IEP meetings. Four pre-service teachers were asked to lead mock IEP meetings with parents played by actors, and then given the training, which consisted of instruction in active listening techniques, annotation of an IEP agenda, and role-play of IEP situations..
Given the data from this study, future projects would include drawing on positive aspects of the training and results to create comprehensive IEP meeting training for preservice as well as practicing teachers.