3 Ways to Use Tape Recordings to Help Your Child in Special Education

Are you the parent of a child with autism? Are you the parent of a

child receiving special education services? Would you like to learn

parenting tips that will help you become an equal participant in your

child’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) meeting? This article will

discuss 3 ways that tape recording can help you in advocating for an

appropriate education for your child with a disability

3 ways to use tape recording:

1. Tape recording can allow you to focus on what is happening during

the meeting, rather than focusing on taking notes. Listen to

everything that is going on, and do write down important things. Speak

up and give your opinion as often as you need to, for the benefit of

your child.

2. If an IEP meeting is tape recorded, you will be able to go over it

at a later time, and fill in your notes. It will also allow you to

remember things that may have happened that you missed. IEP meetings

can be adversarial. A tape recording allows you to listen to the

interactions in the privacy of your own home.

3. Tape recordings of IEP meetings can be used as evidence at a due

process hearing. In order to use a tape recording, as evidence, it

will have to be transcribed. Tape recorders should be digital, and

powerful enough to pick up several different people’s voices.

A lot of special education personnel become very resistant when

parents want to tape record IEP meetings. Below is an interpretation

of tape recording under IDEA, by the Office of Special Education

Programs (OSEP).

OSEP published its question #12 opinion in the Federal Register Volume

57, No. 183, Sept. 29, 1992 interpreting tape recording IEP meetings

and stated “that it is permissible to tape IEP meetings at the option

of either the parents or the agency.”

There have also been several law suits that have given parents the

right to tape record IEP meetings. One of these court cases in

Connecticut V.W. v. Favolise had the court reason that parents have a

statutory right, to attend and participate in IEP meetings, and the

district could not legally engage in an act to limit the parents

rights.

If special education personnel refuse to allow you to tape record,

because they say that they have a district policy, ask for a written

copy of the policy. OSEP in a memorandum 91-24 July 18, 1991 stated

“Thus any policy limiting or prohibiting a parent’s right to tape

record the proceedings at an IEP meeting must provide for exceptions

if they are necessary to ensure that the parent is able to understand

the proceedings at the IEP meeting. . .” Ask your school district for

an exception, so that you can understand the IEP meeting.

With the written policy in hand, cancel the IEP meeting, and send a

state complaint to your state department of education. Tell them that

you asked school personnel for an exception and they refused. The

state will have 60 days to resolve your complaint.

Tape recording can help you be an active participant in your child’s

IEP meeting. Your child is depending on your help, do not let them

down.