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21 Emotions Special Needs Experience During an IEP Meeting

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As many parents of children with special needs can tell you, IEP (individualized education program) meetings can be a lot to handle. They’re designed to be an opportunity for parents to reassess their child’s education plan with teachers and staff, but they often turn into a frustrating fight for services and therapies.

Knowing these meetings can be eventful, The Mighty asked parents what emotions they experience during an IEP meeting. This is what they had to say.

1. Nervous

“I hope this goes better than last year… “

2. Hopeful optimism

“We’re all here to help me child, right? We have the same goals, and we can do this together.”

3. Fear

“What if they try to take away the things my kid needs? What if they don’t hear me at all.”

4. Anger

“If you say ‘can’t accommodate’ or ‘not enough funding’ on more time…”


5. Restraint

“Remember, you don’t look good in prison orange, so you must keep calm…”

6. Determined

“I won’t lose sight of the real reason we’re here: my child’s well-being. I’ll make them see that my kid is the bottom line, not the budget.”

7. Overwhelmed

“Don’t cry, don’t cry, don’t cry…”

8. Defeated

“It’s OK to cry a little bit… “


9. Worried

“Will they follow the plan? Are they even hearing me or just going through the motions?”

10. Frustrated

“Do you even know my child? I’m tired of educating the educators on how to educate my kid.”

11. Sad

“I hate that it has to come to this for my child to get what they need.”

12. Stressed

“Where do I see my child in the future? I don’t know, not in this meeting… ?”


13. Desperate

“Please stop pushing your own agenda and just listen to me.”

14. Offended

“Are you seriously questioning my parenting abilities?”

15. Confused

“There are far too many acronyms in this conversation.”


16. Annoyed

“I feel like a broken record. How many times must I repeat myself?”

17. Resolute

“Deep breaths. You can do this.”

18. Diplomatic

“We can find a compromise. We will work this out.”

19. Profound appreciation

“Would it creep them all out if I thank them a million times for getting through this with me and supporting my child?”


20. Relief

“It’s over. We survived.”

21. Dread

“We have to do this again in a year?”

Originally published: August 20, 2015
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