As the time nears for your child’s school transition, there are several ways you can begin to prepare. Following your request for your child to be evaluated for special education services, you’ll want to start your preparations for your child’s IEP meeting. Our team has put together some helpful tips to help you navigate through the IEP process successfully.
What is an IEP?
The Individualized Educational Plan, or IEP, is a document developed for any public school child who qualifies for special education services under the Individuals with Disabilities Act, or IDEA. It aims to identify necessary accommodations for your child to thrive in the least-restrictive school environment. A multidisciplinary team meets to determine your child’s eligible disability and need for services in the public school setting.
Who Will Attend the IEP Meeting?
There are individuals required to be present at your child’s IEP meeting, including:
- Parent: You provide unique and valuable information that sheds light on your child’s areas of concern, needs, and strengths.
- Child: When a class or school transition is necessary, your child may be included in the IEP meeting, if appropriate.
- General education teacher: At least one of your child’s teachers will be present to provide insight into your child’s successes and needs in the classroom.
- Special education teacher: A trained educator who has experience working with children with disabilities will be present to help all members plan your child’s accommodations and offer ways to implement them.
- An interpreter of results: This person is responsible for relaying and interpreting your child’s evaluation results and utilize them to help develop the best instructional methods.
Additional members may include:
- A language interpreter, if needed
- Representatives from school transition service agencies, when applicable
- Any person(s) with knowledge of or expertise surrounding your child and invited by the district or parent, for example, Speech Language Pathologist, BCBA, Occupational Therapist, Social Worker, Counselor.
What the IEP Covers
The IEP is meant to ensure your child receives the required services and support necessary to succeed in the school. It is a written document that should be revisited yearly but can be modified at your request for a new meeting at any time.
The IEP documents will include:
- Relevant information about your child’s:
- Comments or clarifications
- Observations and evaluation results, including state and district academic exams
- Additional requirements or concerns involving:
- Social skills
- Language development
- Physical therapy
- Measurable Goals that are attainable within the school year
- Methods of evaluating goals
Special Education Services
Your school district is required to provide your child with the services and tools needed to reach their goals and objectives in the least restrictive classroom possible. The IEP will also state:
- When services begin
- Where they will take place
- How often they are to be provided, including the length of sessions
If necessary, it will also include:
- Strategies for behavior management when interfering with learning or the learning of classmates
- Assistive technology
- Any and all devices or services needed
- Accommodations in the general education classroom if applicable
By preparing in advance, the IEP should be a smooth and more easily understood process for your family. Plan to attend with a list of questions you’ve compiled, medical records, previous school or service records, and any additional files of information you believe to be relevant to your child’s meeting. Our knowledgeable team at Blossom Children’s Center is here to help you prepare for your child’s school transition and IEP preparation needs. Visit us to find out how we can help.