Prior Written Notice is a Powerful Tool When Skillfully Used


by Jeff Martin, Esq.

Essentially, IDEA 2004 requires the IEP team to formally and logically accept or reject any suggestions or requests that an IEP team member makes. (34 C.F.R. § 300.503.) As parents, we are members of the IEP team!

I like the form created by Judy Bonnell and available on This is the type of form that I will use for my daughter’s next IEP meeting.

A More Extensive PWN Form – Includes “Tabled” Actions
I sensed with some clients, who require “big ticket” educational needs like private placement or a one-on-one paraprofessional, I needed a more extensive form to really get the IEP team’s attention and to develop the record for future action.

Bringing out the PWN form is a show stopper.
Saying “no” is too easy for some IEP teams. Articulating “an explanation of why the agency . . . refuses to take the action and a description of each evaluation procedure, assessment, record, or report the agency used as a basis for the . . . refused action” (20 U.S.C. 1415(c)) is tough. As an advocate, I can remain nice and let the law be the bad guy!

Read more. Wrightslaw.