I always advise people to get a ‘full’ IEP, this will cover you in the future. If you only get speech services on the written IEP, you will need to meet in the future for another IEP to be written before they will offer help with other services.
What if I work and the IEP is scheduled for the morning?
In my state the IEP meeting must be done at the parent’s convenience, meaning if you work they will need to change it to a time when you are off work. Keep in mind if you schedule it as soon after school is out of session, this will allow for a more receptive meeting.
What if they refuse to write an IEP?
If the school is refusing make sure you have in writing along with the reason. Talk to the Special Education Department if the letter is written by another source. If that is not the case then check with your state education department to find out how to proceed.
My child’s IEP has goals that are too difficult for my child.
Keep in mind this is a plan that will span an entire year or more, and can be repeated onto the following IEP. If you feel your child will not be able to begin to master this goal, ask if it can be broken down into smaller steps so your child will succeed. If the goal wants the child to choose between seven different activities, see if it could be written as two activities with more added as the grading periods proceed; or ask that the choice between two be written with increasing percentages at each grading period.
Make sure the goals are agreeable and doable before you sign the papers. If needed you can request to take a copy home and look it over before signing.
I feel forced into agreeing with the IEP goals.
Don’t let yourself feel bullied. At one meeting I found myself around a table of about eight school officials and felt very intimidated. After that I took someone with me for several years. One therapist stood up and demanded I choose to dress my child according to her ideas. I refused and she just about shot out of her seat. My friend who sat by my side, interceded by saying very firmly “I believe ‘Mom’ has said no”. End of conversation. If you feel intimidated, excuse yourself and reschedule at a time when you can have support in the meeting.
Remember why you are there.
You are there to orchestrate a better way of educating your child. His/her disabilities need to be properly and realistically addressed in the IEP. Don’t allow the IEP to state goals that are far under or over your child’s ability but keep in mind the goals are for stretching their abilities.
If your child is in a wheelchair and cannot talk or move independently, you may want to avoid goals that expect brushing their teeth on their own or dressing themselves. A better goal might be to choose between two activities by pressing the proper button which has a picture of the activity next to it.
You are in the meeting to add substance and meaning to the educational plan. You may need to impress them with the reality of who your child is so the goals are realistic and encouraging to your child.
If you realize after the meeting that something was left out, ask yourself if this was something important or can it be done next time? If it can wait be sure to write it on your list for the future IEP.
Also if you see your child progressing rapidly through the IEP you may need to reschedule another meeting to re-write the document and make it more workable for your child.
If this or any other post has helped you, please let me know in the comments section below, or if you need clarification or think I missed passing on more information please let me know. Thanks and have a great week!
You should have an IEP when you first realize your child has problems, most schools will not give your child one until he/she has been evaluated by a professional. In most cases your child will not have obvious diagnoses such as Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy etc. so the first thing you need to do is get a diagnosis by a psychologist either a private one or the school psychologist.
What do I put into my child’s IEP?
Make a list of the everyday things your child has difficulty with such as organizing, following directions, holding a pencil the proper way, tying shoes, listening, reading etc.
Anything that can be used to help him reach his educational goals can be put into an IEP. An example would be that the student “will write his assignments accurately into his notebook each day and put the due date on his calendar”. Another example might be that the student “will be able to choose between two activities successfully”.
These IEP goals are put into the plan to enable them to work more effectively in the classroom. Each goal should have percentages of improvement written into them to allow for 100% completion within a year’s time. It would look something like this:
“will be able to choose between two activities successfully”. A success rate of 25% or 1 out of 4 will be completed by the end of the first grading period, 50% OR 2 out of 4 completed by the end of the second grading period, 75% or 3 out of 4 completed by the end of the third grading period and a rate of 100% or 4 out of 4 by the end of the final grading period.
How to get an IEP from the teacher?
If your child has not yet gotten an IEP you may need to write the teacher, I also write the Special Education Department and the principal of the school. Write the date at the top of the page and write the name and title of the persons you are addressing at the top left hand of the page. The body should state what you are asking. You will want to say who you are, who your child is and what the diagnosis is. Let them know he’s been diagnosed by a local doctor and give the name.
Next let them know what kinds of things you would like written in such as goals for making choices, interacting with other children, learning social skills, reading, organizing etc. Choose about two or three you see as challenges for your child. Don’t worry about writing goals, this will be done by the teacher by the date of the IEP.
Know your state laws. There is a time limit when an IEP needs to be scheduled and finished and you should write this on your calendar for referral. If the school has not responded in a timely manner, you may want to write another note letting them know they are running out of time. You may need to remind them that you are aware of the time frame.
I would suggest not going into an IEP meeting alone. Take your spouse, a good friend or anyone who knows your child well and can help buffer what may end up being a tense relationship while trying to make sure your child gets his needs taken care of.
I don’t want to confer that IEP’s are difficult to get, but sometimes depending on the circumstances and schools etc, they can be a bit hard to navigate through when you have the best interest of your child at heart.