Monday, February 6, 2012

How to Prepare for an IEP Meeting

In order to prepare for the meeting, parents must have an idea of what is to take place. Under the law, the IEP meeting is intended to 1) determine the present level of the child's academic achievement and functional performance, 2) develop a plan to meet the child's needs for the upcoming school year, and 3) to establish goals so that the child makes continuous progress over the coming year. Remember, none of this is written in stone and can be amended during the course of the year. A meeting can be requested by the parent at any time. At the same time, be sure and include EVERYTHING you want for your child in the IEP to ensure that the goals are implemented.

If your child has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, the school can either accept a medical diagnosis or can pursue an educational diagnosis. Chances are, even if your child has a medical diagnosis, the school district personnel will want to conduct their own testing to establish an educational diagnosis

In preparing for the IEP (Individual Education Plan) meeting:

*Review existing and prior IEP's, evaluate IF progress has been made.
*Review any recent or new evaluations.
*Review the child's present level of performance. Has there been measurable improvement in performance? Have goals been met? Are they realistic?
*Ask yourself, "Where do I see my child in one year, three years,..." You can not create a plan and/or SMART (specific, measurable, action words, realistic/relevant and time limited) goals if you have no idea where you want to go and what is realistic for your child.
*Remember the purpose of IDEA is to provide a free and appropriate public education in the least restrictive environment to a disabled child with the purpose of preparing the child for further education, independent living and employment.

An IEP is a stepping stone to future accomplishments. It is imperative that your child make gains in his or her educational journey. The function of the IEP is to create an individual plan for your child that is measurable. This measurement needs to reflect your child's progress. If your child is not making adequate progress, the plan needs to be re-visited. This review of existing goals should be done on a regular basis. Do not wait until the end of the year to look at your child's progress. It may be too late then.

Kerri Duncan has been supporting families with children diagnosed with autism. She aims to increase awareness and educate those involved in the lives of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. If you need more information and support, click here to see how she can help you and your child reach a brighter tomorrow.

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