Individual Education Plan (IEP)
"Some parents postpone asking the school for extra
services for their children because they assume there will be red tape.
But, once you've survived your first Individual Education Program (IEP) meeting,
these fears will quickly be replaced with newfound strength and determination to
get the best services available for your child. You will soon be your
child's strongest advocate, and your child's teacher's strongest link".
The IEP meeting is your opportunity to hear and share your
child's success stories (and areas that need improvement). It's an open
forum to create solutions and attainable goals for your child, yourself and your
providers. It's your opportunity to get services for your child (speech
and/or occupational therapy, special transportation, modified curriculum,
etc.) Meetings are typically attended by your child's current and
future teachers, aids, therapists, social workers and child psychologists (if applicable).
Most importantly, YOU ARE A MEMBER OF THE TEAM and your voice
must be heard. You may also invite a friend and/or advocate to the meeting
for support and/or to take notes so you can focus on the meeting.
To start the process, write a letter to your
child's principal requesting an evaluation be done. Include the date
of your request, your child's name, date of birth, teacher's name, diagnosis
(if available), how their condition affects their learning. Keep a
copy of the request for your records.
Review your and your child's rights,
and the categories
that may make your child eligible for special services. Keep in mind
that conditions such as Sensory Integration Dysfunction may fall under other health impaired so do
not be discouraged if your child's condition is not specifically listed.
Remember, your child has the right to an education in
Restrictive Environment that they may learn successfully.
Prepare for the IEP by reading about what I do
throughout the year, before the meeting, on my way out my door, at the
meeting, and between meetings.