IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan.
We all know that the “I” in IEP means that the for individualized.
This is something every parent knows. The districts know it as well. This fact often over gets overlooked during the course of a child’s education. It is not that parents forget or do not ask for it. At least in theory, we know that we have the right to ask for what our children need to receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE). School districts like to pretend our requests are unreasonable, or pretend that “individualized” has a different meaning.
What It Covers
Individualized means exactly that – individualized and customized based on student need. This includes whatever the student needs to receive FAPE.
A student with an ongoing, intermittent illness needs a quick and seamless transition from school to home hospital teaching and back. He should also have a health plan on file.
Another student requires counseling late in the school day because she cannot access it at 9 am, when the school offers it.
A different student has significant behaviors that result him getting into school late every day. Supports could include sending a BCBA to his house to troubleshoot his morning routine. Additionally, the IEP Team can allow the student to come to school late without receiving repeated tardy notifications in his record.
Yet another student is unable to finish her homework in a reasonable period of time. Most school districts have suggested amounts of time students must spend studying. One district’s policy for kindergarten students is 10 minutes of writing, and 20 minutes of reading each school night. The student was spending an hour and was unable to complete her work. The IEP can specify how much time student must spend daily on homework, and that teacher must grade on work completed, not percentage of work completed.
A lot of families are uncertain what they can ask for and how to justify their requests. We have been in IEP meetings where schools and districts offer programs based on what the school already has in place, rather than what the student needs. This is where we get to say “How are we going to individualize this for Johnny?”
We can look at your child’s needs, explain your options, and prepare for how to ask for what your child needs.
As parents, we understand, As experienced and trained advocates, we can help.
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