“If every child matters, every child has the right to a good start in life. If every child matters, every child has the right to be included. And that is so important for children with special needs.”— Cherie Blair.
Are you a parent of a child with special needs? Are you aware of their educational needs, plans, laws, and services? How much support do you give your special child? It will help if you become their greatest cheerleader and advocate.
Every child receiving special education services must have an IEP. It is the basis of quality education for kids with disabilities. The program provides parents, teachers, students, school administrators, and other related personnel the opportunity to work together to improve the academic results of special needs children.
An individualized Education Program (IEP) is one of the most significant ways to advocate for your child.
What is an IEP?
IEP stands for Individualized Education Program.
An IEP is a legal document or plan for a child with a particular need. It is a map that displays special education supports, instruction, and services that children with identified disabilities require to thrive and progress in school.
Who needs an IEP?
Children who receive special education services in publicly funded and publically funded charter schools.
Who develops the IEP?
The IEP is developed by a team comprising key school staff, the child with special needs, parents, and some designated advocates. These individuals meet, review the assessment information about the child, and design an education program that meets the child’s educational needs in the best way possible.
How often are IEP meetings held?
IEP meetings are held at least once per year, but you can request a meeting at any other time if you have a concern.
What qualifies a Child for an IEP?
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) identifies 13 categories of disabilities that qualify a child for an IEP.
Note: Not all children under these categories qualify for an IEP. IDEA only recognizes them as potential candidates for IEP, but further analysis must be conducted.
1. Autism: A developmental disability predominantly affects social interaction and verbal and nonverbal communication.
2. Deaf-Blindness: This combination of sight and hearing impairments affects an individual’s ability to communicate, get around, and access information.
3. Deafness: This hearing impairment impairs a child’s ability to process linguistic information through hearing, with or without aid.
4. Emotional disturbance: Includes varying traits and behaviors such as unhappiness, schizophrenia, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and physical symptoms related to school or general life fears.
5. Hearing impairment: This can include permanent or fluctuating hearing impairment that negatively affects a student’s educational performance.
6. Intellectual disability: This means considerably sub-average intellectual functioning, existing along with adaptive behavior deficits and common during the developmental period. Therefore, it negatively affects a student’s academic performance.
7. Multiple Disabilities: Occur when a student has concurrently two or more types of disabilities.
8. Orthopedic impairment: This category includes kids with amputations and cerebral palsy, among other impairments that hinder a child’s learning ability.
9. Other Health Impairments: This category includes acute or chronic health conditions that hinder a child’s learning. They include conditions like; DHD, diabetes, leukemia, and epilepsy.
10. Specific learning disability: This disorder affects one or more basic psychological processes involved in using or understanding written or spoken language. It may manifest in a child’s inability to speak, listen, spell, write, read, or do mathematical calculations.
11. Speech or language impairment: This communication disorder negatively affects a child’s learning ability.
12. Traumatic Brain Injuries: This is an injury to the brain that occurs due to external physical force.
13. Visual Impairments: This is a category of disability that includes partial or total blindness that hinders a child’s learning ability.
What happens during the IEP meeting?
The IEP team meeting comprises the following activities:
[*] Discuss how your child is doing academically and in functional performance areas.
[*] Develop long-term goals that your child should achieve during the year.
[*] Formulate short-term steps to help the child achieve the goals.
[*] Decide on criteria to use to determine if the child has achieved the goals.
[*] Decide on the instruction to help the child meet the goals.
[*] Discuss the most appropriate accommodations for your child.
What are the Benefits of an IEP?
Individualized learning: Students with special needs may not learn the same way as the other students, requiring individualized attention. The traditional learning method puts kids with disabilities at a disadvantage causing them to struggle with learning. IEP remodifies learning to align with the student’s strengths and helps them develop essential skills.
Parental involvement: IEP actively involves parents or guardians in the education process of their children. The program gives parents the right to make crucial decisions, such as where the child will go to school.
Quality education: IEP has legal procedures and clear expectations for everyone involved. You can be sure that your child will get help from committed professionals. The creators and implementers include therapists, highly trained and certified educators, and other professionals.
A Clear action plan: Everyone in the IEP team understands their role in the educational success of the special need child. Therefore, everyone in the team, including teachers, parents, and children, receives specific action plans and is expected to deliver them.
Highlights the child’s strengths and weaknesses: An IEP highlights your child’s strengths, weaknesses, and learning approaches that best work for them.
What are IEP accommodations?
IEP accommodations are tools and changes made to help special needs students to learn better. Accommodations adjust the learning process without changing the task or what the child is learning about.
IEP accommodations may change the time students use or their work environment when completing an assignment. However, they still complete the assignment done by the other students. In other words, accommodations help special needs children to adapt to the curriculum and learn the same material as their peers.
Types of IEP Accommodations
IEP accommodations are broken into several categories because they work differently. When considering accommodations, you should consider where your child needs school support and what should be done to improve their learning experience.
These accommodations change how information, directions, and instruction are presented to students. They allow a child with a disability to access information in ways other than auditory or visual, such as listening and reading.
These accommodations changes how a student completes tests, activities, and assignments by allowing them to use some form of organizer or assistive device. Response accommodations can benefit children with learning, sensory and physical disabilities.
Most disability accommodations focus on making classroom activities accessible. However, environmental accommodations focus on making the classroom an accessible and inclusive place for students with disabilities.
These accommodations benefit students requiring learning environment adaptations. They can include reducing distracting stimuli, noise reduction, preferential seating, and preparing an alternative workspace.
Timing and Scheduling accommodations:
This accommodation increases the average time for completing assignments for students with disabilities. Timing accommodations can also change how time is organized for an assessment or assignment. Children under this accommodation are not given lesser questions than the rest, just additional time to complete their assignments.
A student can receive extended time accommodation for varying reasons. For example, a need for extra time to write, a need for extra time to process information, or they may be using assistive technology or other accommodations that may require more time to utilize.
How can Kids on the Yard Help?
KOTY Special Educational tutors are well-versed and competent with students with disabilities of all kinds with IEP or 504 Plans.
Our Special Ed Tutors create a warm, welcoming, structured learning setting that is highly customized and tailored to each lesson that works for your child’s specific needs, from math, reading, and writing, to homework support, study skills, and test prep.
Whether your child needs to master core foundational skills or learn complex advanced concepts, our Special Ed Tutors provide supplemental support that leads to more significant learning. You’ll see how our approach translates to school and all areas of life.