In a public school system that often has a surplus of students but a shortage of teachers and resources, it is not uncommon to think your child may be “lost in the sauce”. This becomes a more pressing concern for children with disabilities who require a particular kind of education.
An Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) is the special education a child receives if he/she has a documented disability that could hinder his/her academic progress. The IEP document is uniquely designed to meet your child’s educational needs. It contains your child’s current academic performance level, goals to meet, and the support and services required. Several people are included in the creation of an IEP:
- General and Special Education teachers- Provide insight on your child’s performance, classroom expectations and strategies for teaching your child.
- School system and Service Agency representatives- knowledgeable about resources available that can help to support your child.
- YOU- As the parent you know information about your child that can benefit the team in creating the most effective IEP.
Make sure you are not “lost in the sauce” either!
It is easy to get confused with the process of an IEP and at times, you may feel like you are not part of your child’s education plan. Here are a few tips on how you can empower yourself to be part of the IEP team and maximize the role you play:
Know your authority- no IEP can go into effect without your consent. You have to provide the school with written permission.
- Before attending an IEP meeting organize your thoughts and write them down on paper
- If you are bringing another advocate for your child, be sure to let the school know in advance
- Ask clarifying questions for anything you may not understand during the meeting
- You can request a meeting to revise an IEP if you believe your child is not making progress. Be sure to put your request in writing and provide it to school administration
Your child receiving the best education suitable for him or her is of upmost importance. Communicate with your child’s school staff frequently and schedule an appointment to speak to your child’s school about the IEP.
(Image Source: http://www.friendshipcircle.org/blog/2014/11/25/10-helpful-and-compassionate-comments-heard-at-an-iep-meeting/)