And IEP, Individualized Education Program planning can be exhausting, daunting and time-consuming.
At the same time, it’s important to have resources and accommodations, and modifications in place for your child.
IEP planning can make a huge difference in the success your child has at school.
If you’re not sure if your child needs an IEP and maybe you’re not sure if they have autism, check out my post on typical symptoms, non-typical and sometimes overlooked symptoms and what ADHD is about.
Subscribe to get your Typical vs Autism development checklist printable.
Also, check out my previous post on the IEP and what it’s all about.
When it comes to IEP planning, do you know what rights you and your child have?
What about what you need to consider when IEP planning?
What rights do you have?
According to the IDEA website:
“Since the enactment and implementation of the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975,
The stated purpose of the IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) is:
- to ensure that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education that emphasizes special education and related services designed to meet their unique needs and prepare them for further education, employment, and independent living;”
For that to happen your child’s IEP may have modification’s in place to help them succeed.
The IDEA website describes reasonable modifications:
“Reasonable modifications: under a regulatory provision implementing Title II of the ADA, public entities are required to make reasonable modifications in policies, practices, or procedures when the modifications are necessary to avoid discrimination on the basis of disability, unless the public entity can demonstrate that making the modifications would fundamentally alter the nature of the service, program, or activity.”
What to consider when planning an IEP
Questions to ask
When putting together an IEP plan there are many things to consider. All of them have to do with how your child learns. That is why it is “INDIVIDUALIZED”. You need to consider everything that your child may need to help them have the best educational experience.
What is your child’s learning style?
- How does your child learn? Can they print or type on a computer?
My son has horrible handwriting and we were able to put into his IEP that he needs to type on the computer or use “Speak to Type” technology.
- Does he need extra time? If your child needs extra time for testing make sure time modification is in the IEP.
- Does he need for someone else to read the questions on the test?
It is difficult for my son to read and comprehend some questions. We have accommodations where he can have a teacher read to him and then he answers the questions.
- Can he do a project from start to finish? You can make modifications to the length or depth of detail of a project in their class.
- Do they need extra assistance? Does an aid need to be assigned? Or does your child just need extra help by going to a different class for assistance?
Do they need help with appropriate behavior?
- Does the child need breaks or special “safe” places, quiet times?
A child on the Autism Spectrum or ADHD may have difficulty with sensory processing. You can put in place in the IEP that your child is allowed “safe” places where they can take breaks. This can be the library, the school office, a corner of the classroom. They can be asked to go there by the teacher or they can ask to go themselves if they are able to.
This accommodation has been a lifesaver for my son. C learned to take breaks and knew when he needed one. He felt safe and knew that he wasn’t going to get into trouble if he needed a break.
- Does your child work for a reward? Set up a reward system to motivate your child in class.
- Does your child need a sensory diet? Do they need to do an extra lap around the playground before returning to class. Do they need a special assignment to stay on track?
- Would a social story help with a difficult situation?
Does your child need help learning about keeping hands to self? Or propper way to line up? There’s a social story for that.
- Behavioral Plan
Are there behaviors that need to be explained, controlled, monitored? A behavior plan can help with that.
How many times can it be revised?
Your child will have an annual IEP meeting right before their birthday. Depending on when their birthday is you may also need another one or two during the school year. When it comes to our kids sometimes just a few weeks can make a difference in behavior.
My son had 3 IEP’s in the school year. His birthday is in the middle of the school year. By the end of the school year, things change and his IEP from the annual IEP meeting may need to change as well. I also always schedule an IEP meeting after the first few weeks of school. Summer and the first few weeks of a new grade can also bring up new behaviors and challenges and changes need to be made.
I also make sure to communicate with my son’s teacher every day, with a communication log and through email. I wrote about how important that is in this post.
You can request an IEP meeting and the school needs to comply within 30 days. If you think changes need to be made then you do whatever you need to, to make sure those changes are made. Your child is important and has the right to an education. They have the right to thrive and reach their full potential.
IEP planning can be exhausting and complicated. But once you know your rights and what questions to ask, you will be equipped with the tools you need.
An IEP with proper accommodations and modifications will help your child succeed.
“let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance” Proverbs 1:5