IEP- What, When, and How.
Have you heard of an IEP before? IEP stands for Individualized Education Program. These programs are used to create environments where children with diverse learning needs can grow and prosper.
“An IEP is a confidential legal document that serves as a roadmap for a student’s special education experience. It explains how the student’s disability impacts learning and covers topics such as academic goals, testing accommodations, therapy hours, transportation services, and much more”
A lot of times, these programs help students that don’t flourish in the traditional school environment, or they can help students achieve individual goals.
For parents, it can seem complicated to understand and help in the making of one of these plans. Hopefully, this helps you understand the process.
Why Choose An IEP
IEP’s help students that need a little more assistance. They can be used to meet learning needs, and assist in reaching career goals. IEP’s can also help track your child’s goals and improvement over time.
A lot of times IEPs help students that otherwise could fall through the cracks.
Who Should Be Involved?
When creating an IEP, it’s important and essential to collaborate. It’s detrimental to have one teacher in the know doing one thing, while another teacher is just teaching as normal. From the principal to teachers and especially parents, there are many people that should be involved in creating and implementing an IEP.
Here’s a simple checklist you can use to make sure everyone that should be involved, is involved. Some of them like parents should definitely be included, while others are more optional case by case.
- The Parent or Guardian
- The Student (when appropriate)
- A Special Educator
- A General Educator
- A School/District Representative
- Related Service Provider
- Someone who can read the results of the program, and is qualified to determine subsequent actions
- Anyone with special knowledge of the student
To get qualified for an IEP, you first need to be referred for special education evaluations.
“A team planning the initial IEP will consider the data that prompted the initial referral, such as response-to-intervention (RTI) data, teacher observation, parent report, and/or health records. The team will also consider the results of the evaluations, student records, grades, work samples, and more. For students who are not new to special education, the planning phase is ongoing throughout the school year with a heightened focus in the couple of months leading up to the annual IEP meeting. “
The Four Stages of Planning an IEP
Once your child has been qualified for an IEP, there are four stages of implementing it. These steps are: planning, writing, executing, progress monitoring/reporting, and then back to planning.
Here’s a simple how-to guide!
There are a ton of different aspects that go into planning an IEP. It’s important to have an IEP Case Manager, this person will be the organizer. They are in charge of the timeframe and making sure the plan stays on track. This Case Manager also is in charge of collaborating with stakeholders, gathering and analyzing data, addressing the needs of the whole child, and maintaining compliance.
The Case Manager takes all of the information learned and gathered, and analyzes the data about the student. They learn about the student’s needs. They also look at the whole student; including health, safety, engagement, support, and challenge.
Once all the research has been done and analyzed, the writing phase can start. Just like the rest of the phases, this should involve the whole IEP team.
The writing phase should include writing down your measurable goals. These goals can be recorded and tracked by teachers and should be easily understandable. “A strong IEP goal is a SMART IEP goal, meaning it is specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and realistic, and time-bound. “
Once the planning has been solidified, the execution can take place.
As with all of the other steps, making sure everyone is on board is important. Make sure everyone knows what their job is, from a parent reinforcing schedules, or a teacher marking down results.
Throughout the executing of the IEP, it’s essential to monitor progress. The data collected and recorded is important in case changes need to be made to the plan.
It’s ok if it doesn’t work 100% the first time! Recording progress and analyzing it allows the plan to be altered to be the best fit possible.
While technically this would be the fifth stage, going back to planning is really just a reiteration of the first. After the progress and monitoring have been recorded, going back and finding weak points of the plan can be completed. Changes can be made to better suit the student’s individual needs.
If your child is up for reevaluating, Back to basics can help! Email or call us to learn about what we can offer when assisting your child.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you, if you would like more in-depth information about planning an IEP, you can follow this link!
Spainhour, Kelley. ”A Comprehensive Guide to the IEP Process” n2y.com. Accessed April 5th, 2021.
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