Draft IEP’s For Your Child in Special Education – Tips on Using Them to Help Your Child

February 27th, 2012

Are you the parent of a child that has autism, and is receiving
special education services? Are you a parent that would like to
understand Draft individual education plans (IEP), and how you
can use them to benefit your child. This article will help you learn about
Draft IEP’s, what the requirements are, and how to use them to
help your child’s education.

A draft IEP is an individual education plan that is filled out in
advance, of the IEP meeting, for your child. Many parents wonder
if it is legal for special education personnel to do this. The Individuals
with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), is silent on draft IEP’s.

The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), which is part of the
Department of Education stated in the Federal Register Vol 71 August
12, 2006 “We do not encourage public agencies to prepare a draft IEP
prior to the IEP team meeting. . .”

So, draft IEP’s are not illegal, but are discouraged by OSEP. The
Federal Register also states “. . .if a public agency develops a draft
IEP prior to the IEP meeting, the agency should make it clear to the
parents at the outset of the meeting, that the services proposed by
the agency are preliminary recommendations for review and discussion
with parents.” Special education personnel rarely state this, at the
beginning of a meeting, so you may have to bring it up. The Federal
Register goes on to say “It is not permissible for an agency to have
the final IEP completed before an IEP Team meeting begins.”

The Federal Register comments from OSEP also state “The public
agency also should provide the parents with a copy of its draft
proposals if the agency has developed them, prior to the IEP
meeting. . .” You should request this in writing, and I would
also quote the comments from the Federal Register. The
request should include timelines; for Example “I will expect
to receive a copy of the Draft IEP at the same time as my
10 day written notice of the IEP meeting.”

The Federal Register also has OSEP stating “so as to give the
parents an opportunity to review the recommendations of the public
agency prior to the IEP team meeting, and be better able to engage in
a full discussion of the proposals for the IEP.”

One way to use Draft IEP’s to help your child, is to develop your own
draft IEP. Go to your state board of education’s Website, go to
special education and then download an IEP form (Most states have an
IEP form available for downloading). Fill out the form, with everything
that you believe your child needs.

Take the form with you to your child’s IEP meeting, and cross out each
section as it is discussed. This will allow you to not only be an
active participant in your child’s IEP, but also to have your input
heard. Also, special education personnel cannot leave out important
parts of the IEP, as they do on occasion. Also by having your own
Draft IEP filled out, you can advocate for your child when special
education personnel want to change or decrease their educational
services.

You can use Draft IEP’s to help your child. By requesting the school’s
Draft IEP in advance, you will be able to be an active participant in
the IEP process. By bringing your own Draft IEP, you can have your
opinions heard. Good luck!

Deaf Parenting – An Individual Education Plan (IEP) To Effectively Meet Educational Needs

February 27th, 2012

It is important for parents of deaf and other special needs children to understand what an Individual Education Plan is and how to ensure your child’s education needs are being met in his or her IEP.

In this article, I will discuss:

What is an IEP

Give tips for having an effective IEP that meets your child’s educational needs

An IEP is a document that details the special needs services for special needs students. The IEP includes any modifications that are required in the classroom and any additional special programs or services. In the USA an IEP is mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004). The IEP will address your child’s educational needs, and contain specific, measurable short term and annual goals for each of those needs.

This written statement is developed by your child’s teachers, and is reviewed and agreed to by your child’s special needs education funding organization and you, the parents. The IEP describes the goals the team sets for your child during the school year, as well as any special support needed to help your child achieve his or her educational goals.

In our case with our deaf son, Larry, we lived in Marlboro, MA and Larry attended school at The Learning Center for Deaf Children in Framingham, MA. The town of Marlboro funded the cost of his education. So we dealt with the special needs education supervisor in Marlboro and Larry’s teachers in Framingham.

The IEP meeting is usually attended by the child’s classroom teacher, the child’s department supervisor, the funding special needs education supervisor and the parents.

The IEP document can be very daunting lots of pages with a lot of official sounding documentation.

Here are tips based on our experience on ensuring your child has an effective IEP that meets his or her educational needs:

Tip#1: You as parents need to be proactive and take an active role in developing the goals for your child’s IEP. You need to have regular interactions with your child’s teachers and school supervisors to understand what your child is being taught, how your child is progressing and what your child will be taught next. This will help you in 2 ways: firstly you will be able to understand what is being stated in your child’s IEP and you can make sure which educational needs will receive the most attention. Secondly your child’s teacher will realize that you are interested in your child’s education and they will make extra efforts on behalf of your child. I firmly believe that it is always good to set high expectations for the people working with your child.

Tip#2: Usually your child’s special needs education funding organization will have meetings a few times a year to discuss their plans etc. Attend as many of these meetings as possible and develop a relationship with the supervisor for your child’s special needs education. This relationship will allow you to discuss and make requests suited to your child’s educational requirements.

Tip#3: We requested a copy of Larry’s IEP 2 days before the IEP meeting so my wife and I could review the IEP. Your child’s teacher is usually very busy developing IEPs so you need to give the teacher early notice that you need the IEP for review. Having a relationship with your child’s teacher and the funding special education supervisor will really help here because you will already know what level of education your child is at and what is the next level of education and services to be addressed in the IEP.

Tip#4: You need to remember that you as parents can bring with you to the IEP meeting others involved with your child that you feel are important for the IEP team to hear, such as, your child’s psychologist or tutor. I would recommend keeping surprises for the IEP team to a minimum and again your working relationship with your child’s education team should help you resolve issues and have agreements on your child’s educational needs before the IEP meeting.