This week I sat down with Matt Solan, a former special education teacher, to help break it all down for us. First, let’s explain your role as the parent on the IEP team. You have an equal say and what is decided and they cannot do the IEP without you in your signature. Team consists of the parents or caregivers, the teacher or representative from the special education department, a representative from the school and any therapist your child sees in school. You may also invite anyone you feel would be beneficial.
Autism and the IEP process
For a person new to IEP’s, the process can be stressful and confusing.
Now, let's discuss the best ways to prepare for the IEP meeting.
I always ask for copy of evaluations before the meeting, so I can see where my kid is academically. It is also a good idea to ask them for a list of their objectives, so you can see where the school sits. Then, you make a list of all the questions and concerns you have. Another great idea is to bring a picture of your child to the meeting, so you can keep the meeting focused on your child.
I know the process can be confusing, so do not feel pressured to sign anything you do not agree with. If you do not agree, work with the team to find a plan you all agree to. Remember, the goals should be realistic and have value to your child. Also, there must be a way to measure these goals, so that you can measure progress.
Then we get to incorporating sensory related accommodations into the IEP. Every child has different sensory challenges and the goal as an IEP team is to figure out exactly what that child sensory challenges are and then trying to find the accommodations that would work best for that particular child.
Lastly, we are want everyone to remember this helpful acronym, SMART.
It stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. If you follow these driving right lines, you should be able to create a strong helpful IEP.