What to Expect from your Child's IEP
Whether your child has recently been diagnosed with autism, is entering school, or aging out of Early Intervention, one of your next steps will be seeking an IEP (individualized education plan).
Some brief history: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) made it mandatory that every child receives a “free appropriate public education.” Through this act, IEPs came about. They are uniquely designed for each child, differing on how autism or any other factors might hinder that child’s education. IEPs can take effect starting at age 3 and lasting through age 21.
The actual IEP document, which you will sign, explains the best education plan for your child, created with both school district and parental input, along with any other experts, therapists, or doctors you wish to add to your child’s team. The plan will include accommodations to support your child and help them reach success and services provided in any determined area of need, academic and nonacademic.
This month, as you prepare your child for another school year, our two-part blog series will explain what an IEP and IEP meeting look like, and how to best prepare in order to be the strongest advocate for your child on the autism spectrum.
How to Qualify for an IEP
To qualify for an IEP, your child needs to have an evaluation determining a disability. You or your child’s teacher can approach the district to request that evaluation. No matter what, though, your input as the parent is necessary to move forward with the process.
The evaluation will decide if your child is in need of special education services, and which specific services those are. Using that information, the school district team will draft an IEP. The IEP they have drafted is what will be the focus of the initial IEP meeting, attended by a special education teacher, your child’s teacher (or future teacher), you, and any others from the school or your own network who have been invited.
Components of an IEP
In your child’s IEP, expect to find four major components:
- The assessment, which determines your child’s current education level. This includes academic skills, focused on reading, writing, and math, as well as:
- functional skills (independent life skills)
- social skills (working well with others, participating in conversations)
- speech and language
- motor skills
- behavioral needs
- psychological needs
- Make clear the expectations for a child through writing.
- Give the child visual cues when attention is necessary.
- Provide a testing environment with few distractions.
- Seat the child close to the teacher.
- Provide regular opportunities for movement throughout the day.
The Goals of an IEP
An IEP, in general, is meant to ensure the student makes progress by prioritizing their needs and giving them the accommodations necessary to gain full access to their education. They will be formulated by considering the results of any assessments, how the student performed the year prior, and parent and teacher input.
Goals can be specific or broad in nature, and do not simply focus on academics. A student may also have social goals, behavioral goals, communication goals, etc. These goals are typically set to be reached over the course of the year.
In addition to the goal itself, the IEP will include the process through which the student will reach the goal, and how it will be evaluated.
Your Springtide family is happy to serve as a resource for any questions or concerns as you work through the often overwhelming IEP process. Feel free to reach out on our website, email us at email@example.com or give us a call at 888-260-1609.
Reach out today and speak with one of our enrollment specialists to get started with Springtide