Understanding and Rocking your IEP!

Caroline Strauss
Caroline Strauss, Bridges Special Education Teacher

Bare Bones of IEP: https://prezi.com/view/KS9xvM5w9OenxbA3aeKR/

Rock that IEP Meeting: https://prezi.com/view/LjfwyfosM4QWF0NqQETP/

Introductory Text:

October is here and with it comes Halloween! How appropriate to pair the month of scary things with the IEP!! The entire IEP process can be daunting, confusing, and certainly scary. In the spirit of Halloween, I’ve used a skeleton to strip the IEP process down to its bare bones. Hopefully with more information and some simplified explanations, the IEP can seem less scary and more like a friendly jack-o-lantern illuminating the path of your child’s education.
Of course, what kind of special education teacher would I be if I didn’t account for your different needs?!?! I invite you to explore all of this post, or just click through the graphics with the information relevant to you.
If you are at the starting line of the IEP world, wondering what it even means to have an IEP, start with the text below on getting an IEP started. For the “bare bone” components of what an IEP is and what is included in it, click through the skeleton graphic. If you have an idea or two about the IEP and just want tips to feel more confident and successful in the IEP process, consider yourself a rock star and click through the drum set graphic.

Who has an IEP?
Every child receiving special education services has an IEP. As is true with many things in today’s world, special education ain’t what it used to be. Special education is truly individualized, specialized instruction at a range of levels that even the playing field so all children have access to education, regardless of ‘dis’ability. For more on what special education can entail, see the “Services” and “Placement” tabs in the skeleton graphic.
In order to have an IEP, two things must be true. The child must have a documented disability AND the disability must impact the child’s education, necessitating some form of specialized curriculum or services. For example, let’s say I have a documented diagnosis of narcolepsy. Let’s also say my narcolepsy is controlled by my doctor through medication and does not affect my schooling in any way. In this scenario, I do not qualify for special education. Even though I have a documented disability, it does not affect my education and therefore does not require specialized instruction.

How does a child get an IEP?

An IEP is created after a child has been found eligible for special education services. Discussion of eligibility is usually led by a school psychologist. Eligibility requires two meetings of the IEP team (that can sometimes be accomplished in one, depending on the situation). The purpose of the first meeting is essentially to decide what kind of information and evaluations are needed to decide if the child will qualify or need special education services and to get the parents’ permission to gather the information and conduct the needed evaluations. The purpose of the second meeting is to review all the information collected and determine if the child meets the criteria set forth by federal and state law for special education services. If the child is found to be eligible, the team will write the first IEP.

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