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What is an IEP and the Process to Create a Supportive Outcome for your Child?

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IEP (Individualized Education Program) is a learning program whereby teachers work closely with parents to meet the needs of students with different forms of learning disabilities (U.S. Department of Education, 2019). The program ensures that a student with a recognized disability receives specialized and individualized instruction, among other related services. We (Kids on the Yard) work closely with parents to ensure that children with disabilities succeed in school. Our IEP program acts as a road map to guide you where your child is in their learning journey, where you want them to be, and the right strategies to apply to get there.

We understand that parenting a child with a learning disability is challenging. It requires knowledge of a high level and access to the right services, information, and resources. At Kids on the Yard, we always have in mind children struggling with scores due to learning disabilities or otherwise. Our successful educational specialists build strong and personal relationships with such students and families to improve their learning abilities. We offer personally tailored instruction and support to children with varying learning challenges that include:
· Hearing challenges or deafness.
· Blindness/ partial blindness
· Autism Spectrum Disorder
· ADHD
· Non-verbal Learning Disabilities
· Visual and Auditory Processing Disorders
· Language-Based Learning Disabilities

What is an IEP Planning Team

Our Educational Specialists can become part of your child’s IEP planning team. This support of Educational Specailaits offers parents an additional person to partake directly or indirectly with your child’s IEP planning. A parent is an active member of the IEP planning team. This is because the government and teachers realize that you understand the child’s weaknesses and strengths better than anyone else. They also value your suggestions and concerns about your child’s education. Besides you and the teachers, IEP may include a school district representative, a school psychologist or any other specialist in mental health, and the child, if he is above the age of 16.

How Does a Child Qualify for IEP?

The school plays a significant role before a child with a learning disability qualifies for an IEP plan. First, the school must verify that your child needs support in their educational progress. The evaluation of whether a child needs an IEP is done under the request of a parent, pediatrician, or counselor. At some schools, the school psychologists may be equipped to give your child various tests to determine a need for an IEP.

What Happens in IEP Meetings?

Inside an IEP meeting, the IEP team members will ask you to give information about your child. At this juncture, share your experiences with the child outside school. For example, discuss their social skills and attention abilities and find it easy or hard to follow instructions. You also get to share your concerns about your child’s education and your thoughts on improving their performance. You further share about the child’s struggles in learning, such as spelling or reading problems.

Further, you are given an opportunity to discuss how your child is responding to past modifications. Based on the information you provide, the team determines if they should upgrade, discontinue or replace the modifications. Lastly, the team members discuss the child’s past evaluation in the IEP meetings.

What is the Purpose of IEP?

According to the U.S. Department of Education (2019), the IEP program is essential to children with disabilities and the team educating them. This is because it helps to identify necessary tools for children with disabilities to succeed. If the program is conducted correctly, it improves the learning, teaching, and results of this group of students; in addition, IEP generally helps children with learning disabilities to meet their personal goals and outcomes beyond their current abilities. As such, the individual education planning program should consider and understand a student’s skills and shortcomings to set reasonable and attainable goals.

How are the IEP Goals Set?

IEP goals are individualized details that describe what your child should accomplish within a school year. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) makes IEP goals flexible and different from one child to another by not dictating what should be addressed in every individual child’s plan (U.S. Department of Education, 2019). The IEP annual goals should include the necessary skills required to support children with special needs due to their thinking and learning differences compared to normal kids.

Successful IEP goals should be specific and measurable to the Child’s academic Growth:
· Specific: Every decision should be explicit in the subject area, and the targeted goal should be precise.
· Measurable: The goal should be stated in a manner that measures the child’s progress through screening,

Standardized tests or curriculum-based measurement.
· Attainable: The goal set should be realistic and reachable by a child with some form of learning disability
· Result-oriented: The goal should show a clear guideline that the child should follow to achieve it
· Time-bound: The goal should provide a specific time frame within which your child will achieve it

Note: IEP contains numerous goals, some of which can be unrealistic for your child. Unrealistic goals can cause confusion and frustration to your child.

Note:  
IEP contans numerous goals, some of which can be unrealistic for your child. Unrealistic goals can cause confusion and frustration to your child.

IEP’S BASIC COMPONENTS

One: Current Performance Level

According to the Center for Parent Information & Resources (2017), the first IEP component should be to get a statement about a child’s current functional and academic achievement level with a learning disability. At this level, you should explain how their disability affects their progress and involvement in the overall education curriculum. At this level, you should also highlight the child’s skills in your areas of concern. Besides discussing the child’s progress in the education curriculum, you should also consult their functional performances in other areas of life such as interpersonal relationships, behavior, and motor skills. Besides your information, the team will require feedback and information from the teachers to determine further their current performance level.

Two: Annual Goals

The second component of the IEP plan should be about your child’s annual goals, including academic and functional goals. The Annual goals should update these goals annually depending on the challenges that he is facing. The goals should target to improve your child’s intellectual and physical functioning. Every goal should be measurable through school evaluations. At the end of the school year, you should have evidence that your child has achieved the set goals or is close to achieving them.

Three: Tracking the Child’s Progress

At this stage, the team should offer a description of your child’s progress towards meeting the main annual goals. A good IEP team should explain how it intends to measure your child’s milestone towards meeting the set annual goal (Center for Parent Information & Resources, 2017). This process can be done through feedback reports and regular tests. You also learn how your child responds towards the annual strategic goals and the current achievements and failures through tracking.

Four: Special Education Services

A good IEP should clearly describe the special education program of your child and how it has been designed to suit his particular need. For example, and our special needs programs, we provide one-on-one aides and special training to our tutors to ensure that your child gets the best possible support.

Five: Service Duration

The IEP should have a projected start and end date for all the services proposed by the team. This includes precise details about services frequency and where they should be delivered. The aim of having a set duration of services is to ensure that all the team members understand where and when the individual program of your child will occur.

Six: Participation in Normal Classes

This component ensures that the faculty and support staff are doing everything possible to ensure that your child is advancing appropriately and learning in a friendly environment. This component also highlights how your child can succeed in a typical classroom through the inclusion policy.

Seven: Testing Accommodations

The IEP plan should determine if your child can participate in regular achievement tests pursued by other kids in standard classes. They should also specify the types of testing accommodations to be used on your child if he participates in regular tests. The accommodations may include the use of distraction-free rooms, wheelchair-accessible classrooms, and extra time. If the IEP team decides that your child should not take a standardized test, you should include the reason behind that decision in your IEP plan.

Eight: Transitional Goals

The IEP plan should help your child in their current situation and their future life. The plan should include a transition plan when your child reaches 14 years, a time when he could be ready to graduate from lower grade levels. The transitional goals should also focus on support and instruction services needed to help your child get a swift transition from the school environment to a vocational program, a job, or other independent living forms. If your child has a dream to further his study in college, the IEP should create strategies to help them adapt to the environment.

TAKEAWAY:

Contact us to learn more about how your Educational Specialist can be part of your child’s IEP team to improve your special child’s academic and functional performance.


References:

* Center for Parent Information & Resources. (2017). Contents of the IEP. Retrieved from https://www.parentcenterhub.org/iepcontents

* U.S. Department of Education. (2019). A Guide to the Individualized Education Program; Archived information. Retrieved from https://www2.ed.gov/parents/needs/speced/iepguide/index.html
Writing Time Management Test Practice & Prep Guides Teaching Techniques Teacher Tip Summer Learning and Activities Study Skills Standardized State Testing Spelling and Vocabulary Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

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