Sunday, May 18, 2008

IEP - It is all about crossing t's and doting i's

IEP...LEA...LRE.....Inclusion....Mainstream...Deficit.....Assessment

There are so many educational jargon that is used in development of an IEP it leaves others speechless or signless. The process involved in development and assessment for an IEP is a process and the document is developed yearly. There are several documents involve in identification of special education services. I want to discuss the Individualized Education Program. It is a 5 page annual document that list the programs, goals, present level, and accommodations for the student. Here is a site that shows Kentucky's IEP: http://web.utk.edu/~sbenner/IEP_Tutorial/parts.html Here is a site that list ideas for deaf and hard of hearing IEP's: http://www.ibwebs.com/iepindex.htm

An IEP has several parts and data used to create it. The process that special educators go through in creating its development, mostly focus on data to show progress and modifications. This site gives the break down of the parts of the IEP: http://www.schwablearning.org/articles.aspx?r=73

Each state uses programs for set up of IEPs. Even within a state, county schools might use different programs. My county uses SEAS( http://www.computerautomation.com/) and many others within the state use a program called Easy IEP. Each assist in creating IEPs and maintaining records and data progress monitoring. It depends on what the school system has approved for instruction. All school districts follow federal guildlines in identification of students disabilities and types of services that can be used. Just because a parent feels the service is valid, the school can say the service is not available and provide an alternative program or say the service is not needed. I can not list programs because each school. district, county, state, or residental school is different. As in each IEP is unique. At the school ask, what type of accommodations do you usually have based on this disability. If you don't ask, then you will not know if a service is available. Also some services or accommodations are not available at every grade level or school. Just believe your friend has this accommodations does not mean it is needed for your child.

Since I work in Tennessee, that is what I have knowledge of. Tennessee has a 35 page parent's rights that is given at meetings. Here is the link: http://www.state.tn.us/education/speced/doc/spedrights.pdf In order to find your state rights, just google (the state) department of education. Then find special education and most of the time it is on that page. I stress this at meetings for parents to read this document and highlight anything that is important. Also keep all paperwork in a folder or envelope and together. If you don't get a folder at the meeting, ask for one. I always try to put my IEPs in a folder for parents. That way if you have any question, go back the document and rights, and review it.

The IEP is a working document and not valid until it is signed by the parent. Each IEP is only good for 365 days. When parents come to the meetings, they should not be worried about changing the document. If you feel something is not to benefit your child, ask why and what else. Also if you feel the document is not workable, do not sign, schedule another meeting. Remember you are the parent and you should question the document as well as any education program set up for your child. Also ask yourself, is the accommodation realiable for the child's academic success? Is it valid for success in the classroom? Is the accommodations needed for the child to be the LRE or should the child go to a more restricted envirnment? Another suggestion, write any question out on paper, the meetings go quickly and you will forget most. Remember this is your child and his document.

(from http://www.state.tn.us/education/speced/doc/spedrights.pdf)
What is an individualized education program?
An individualized education program (IEP) is a written plan for a child with a disability that is
developed and implemented according to federal and state regulations. This plan includes:
• a description of your child’s strengths and needs (present levels of performance);
• a statement of measurable annual goals and instructional objectives related to meeting
your child’s needs;
• a statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and
services to be provided to your child, or on behalf of your child.
• a statement of how your child will be educated and participate with other children with
and without disabilities.
• a statement of how your child will be involved and progress in the extracurricular and
other non-academic activities in the general curriculum.
• the explanation of the extent, if any, to which your child will not participate with nondisabled
children in school activities;
• a statement of any individual modifications your child may need to participate in state
mandated assessments.
• if the IEP team determines that your child will not participate in a particular assessment,
the IEP must include a statement of why the assessment is not appropriate and how your
child will be assessed;
• the projected date for the beginning of the services and modifications described in the
IEP and the anticipated frequency, location and duration of those services and
modifications;
• transition statements;
• a statement of how your child’s progress will be measured and how you will be regularly
informed.
NOTE: At least one year before your child turns eighteen, the school district is required to give
you a statement that your child’s legal rights will transfer to them at age 18. Your
child will then be allowed to make educational decisions for him/herself, unless you
have a court order from a judge declaring your child incompetent to act on his/her
behalf.

In the next post I am going to break down each part of the IEP. I hope for those of you who have children with IEP you are aware of your rights. For parents who have meetings coming up, I hope this helps in the "what am I looking at?" situation. I believe every educator wants children to be successful in the classroom. We want children to have everything they need to gain knowledge, but in reality an IEP is just one tool, not the whole toolbox.


An IEP is not a magical document that "cures" anything. No window is going to open and all the knowledge your child needs, be placed out infront of them. It is a document that allows parents, teachers, and students to monitor progress and assist the student to be successful in the LRE(least restrictive enviroment). I real key to quality education is a "big secret!" I'm going to let you in on it - it takes caring teachers, determined parents, supported community, creative adminstrators, and finally the will of the child.

6 comments:

Amy said...

Good thing you brought up about IEP. I have been thru with IEP for my son since he was in a preschool. I know what it is like and how to be advocate for my son. I think that many parents who have child in their IEP Program need to know this. I think it is great that you did this information for all parents to be aware of this. Thanks for shared.

Val said...

thank you, needed this and will pass the info along!

Anonymous said...

Hi! good article and useful information. Thanks. I work at a school for the deaf, myself. I'd like to recommend that parents bring a notepad, like a steno pad, and take notes during the meeting. Those meetings can run as long as 2-3 hours, and so much gets said and forgotten.

As for the IEP being a progress monitoring document, I'm not so sure about that. In this day and age of No Child Left Behind, accountability, state standards, and high-stakes testing, some IEPs are written to reflect state content standards that in actuality have very little to do with the child's actual functioning level.

As an example, many times I've read middle school math IEP goals that state the child will master computations with decimals and fractions, or take pre-algrebra, when that child can barely add and subtract. Or another way to put it: the IEP states that the child is working at 5th grade math standards, and the child's grade equivalent scores in math are 2nd or 3rd grade. Does that make any sense to you? It sure doesn't make sense to me.

My fantasy is for parents to really ask questions about those kinds of discrepancies, and require that the school accommodate the *child's* academic level, not the other way around. I mean, that's what the "individual" in IEP means, right?

Abbie said...

Val,

This explains so much about how an IEP is done today. When I was reading my own IEP from many, many years ago, I had no idea what I was reading but with this information you gave me. I have a fundermental understanding of an IEP. I can only imagine how this information you are providing will help so many parents understand the behind the scenes and what their rights are when it comes to their child's education.

This post deserves a golf clap all around!

I can't wait to read more!!!

Laurie said...

I am just now learning what an IEP is and how important it is. I've heard the term so much but never really knew what it meant or entailed. . .

Would love to link your blog to my list of CI bloggers. May I do that?

Sounds like you are doing good and making wonderful progress!

Valerie said...

please to Laurie.