10 Steps to the IEP Process

The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a federal law, part of the Individual with Disabilities Act. The IEP must be written at least annually for all children with disabilities. Below are the following steps to an IEP.

Step 1. Child is identified as possibly needing special education and related services.

“Child Find.” The state must identify, locate, and evaluate all children with disabilities in the state who need special education and related services. To do so, states conduct “Child Find” activities. A child may be identified by “Child Find,” and parents may be asked if the “Child Find” system can evaluate their child. Parents can also call the “Child Find” system and ask that their child be evaluated. Or —

Referral or request for evaluation. A school professional may ask that a child be evaluated to see if he or she has a disability. Parents may also contact the child’s teacher or other school professional to ask that their child be evaluated. This request may be verbal or in writing. Parental consent is needed before the child may be evaluated. Evaluation needs to be completed within a reasonable time after the parent gives consent.

 

2 Step 2. Child is evaluated.

The evaluation must assess the child in all areas related to the child’s suspected disability. The evaluation results will be used to decide the child’s eligibility for special education and related services and to make decisions about an appropriate educational program for the child. If the parents disagree with the evaluation, they have the right to take their child for an Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE). They can ask that the school system pay for this IEE.

 

3 Step 3. Eligibility is decided.

A group of qualified professionals and the parents look at the child’s evaluation results. Together, they decide if the child is a “child with a disability,” as defined by IDEA. Parents may ask for a hearing to challenge the eligibility decision.

 

4 Step 4. Child is found eligible for services.

If the child is found to be a “child with a disability,” as defined by IDEA, he or she is eligible for special education and related services. Within 30 calendar days after a child is determined eligible, the IEP team must meet to write an IEP for the child.

 

5Step 5. IEP meeting is scheduled.

The school system schedules and conducts the IEP meeting. School staff must:

  • contact the participants, including the parents;
  • notify parents early enough to make sure they have an opportunity to attend;
  • schedule the meeting at a time and place agreeable to parents and the school;
  • tell the parents the purpose, time, and location of the meeting;
  • tell the parents who will be attending; and
  • tell the parents that they may invite people to the meeting who have knowledge or special expertise about the child.

 

6 Step 6. IEP meeting is held and the IEP is written.

The IEP team gathers to talk about the child’s needs and write the student’s IEP. Parents and the student (when appropriate) are part of the team. If the child’s placement is decided by a different group, the parents must be part of that group as well.

Before the school system may provide special education and related services to the child for the first time, the parents must give consent. The child begins to receive services as soon as possible after the meeting.

If the parents do not agree with the IEP and placement, they may discuss their concerns with other members of the IEP team and try to work out an agreement. If they still disagree, parents can ask for mediation, or the school may offer mediation. Parents may file a complaint with the state education agency and may request a due process hearing, at which time mediation must be available.

 

7 Step 7. Services are provided.

The school makes sure that the child’s IEP is being carried out as it was written. Parents are given a copy of the IEP. Each of the child’s teachers and service providers has access to the IEP and knows his or her specific responsibilities for carrying out the IEP. This includes the accommodations, modifications, and supports that must be provided to the child, in keeping with the IEP.

 

8 Step 8. Progress is measured and reported to parents.

The child’s progress toward the annual goals is measured, as stated in the IEP. His or her parents are regularly informed of their child’s progress and whether that progress is enough for the child to achieve the goals by the end of the year. These progress reports must be given to parents at least as often as parents are informed of their nondisabled children’s progress.

 

9 Step 9. IEP is reviewed.

The child’s IEP is reviewed by the IEP team at least once a year, or more often if the parents or school ask for a review. If necessary, the IEP is revised. Parents, as team members, must be invited to attend these meetings. Parents can make suggestions for changes, can agree or disagree with the IEP goals, and agree or disagree with the placement.

If parents do not agree with the IEP and placement, they may discuss their concerns with other members of the IEP team and try to work out an agreement. There are several options, including additional testing, an independent evaluation, or asking for mediation (if available) or a due process hearing. They may also file a complaint with the state education agency.

 

10 Step 10. Child is reevaluated.

At least every three years the child must be reevaluated. This evaluation is often called a “triennial.” Its purpose is to find out if the child continues to be a “child with a disability,” as defined by IDEA, and what the child’s educational needs are. However, the child must be reevaluated more often if conditions warrant or if the child’s parent or teacher asks for a new evaluation.

IEP Articles and Links

8 steps to a successful IEP meeting- Great Schools

10 things to cover at your child’s IEP meeting- Autism Support Network

17 things autism moms want you to know about IEP’s and your child- Living Well Mom

All about the IEP- Center for Parent Information and Resources

How can an IEP help someone with autism?- Applied Behavior Analysis

How are IEP’s designed for students with ASD?– Applied Behavior Analysis

IEP FAQ- Wrightslaw

IEP Guidelines- Down Syndrome Association of Ontario

Individualized Education Program for Autism- WebMD

Individualized plan for a student with cerebral palsy- Knoji

Learning about IEP’s– Understood

Learning Disabilities and IEP’s-Focus on Family

The short and sweet IEP overview- The Parent Center Hub

Understanding IEP’s– Understood

What is an IEP? – Great Schools

 

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15 Teaching Strategy Resources for Students With Hearing Impairments

 

Accommodations for students with hearing loss

Five tips for teachers of students with hearing impairments

How to teach hearing impaired students: Strategies for success

Inclusive teaching: deaf and hearing impaired

Instructional strategies for students who are deaf or hard of hearing

Modern teaching techniques for deaf and hard of hearing students

Strategies for hearing impaired students

Suggested teaching strategies

Teaching a child with hearing loss

Teaching hearing impaired children

Teaching strategies for deaf and hearing impaired

Teaching strategies for hearing impaired students

Tips for teachers

Tips for teaching a preschooler with hearing loss

Visual teaching strategies for students who are deaf or hard of hearing

Identifying Street Signs Worksheet

This is an introduction to identifying street signs for children and young adults learning how to cross the street safely. The worksheet includes signs needed in teaching street crossing safety.

Learning Objectives:

  • Will match the traffic sign correctly
  • Will identify the traffic sign correctly
  • Will name the traffic sign correctly

Material Needed:

Traffic sign worksheet
laminated (optional)
laminator paper(optional)
Scissors

Instructions:

  1. Once you have printed the worksheet, cut the individual traffic signs and laminate.
  2. Explain each traffic sign and have the individual repeat.
  3. Once the signs are separated, mix them up and have the individual point to the correct ones.
  4. Have the individual state the traffic signs correctly and match

Traffic Signs Worksheet_ID Signs

 

Data Collection for Special Education Teachers

Writing IEP goals and objectives includes collecting data to track the progress of the special needs student. The following links and resources includes information on measuring progression, organizing data and tracking IEP goals

16 hacks for making data collection a piece of cake

Data collection for IEP’s: Measuring progression toward a goal

Data collection for individualized education plan implementation

Data collection for special education teachers

How to organize special education data for easy review

IEP and goals data collection 

IEP data collection

IEP data collection methods

Tips for setting and tracking IEP goals

Using Google docs to collect data for IEP goals

Bullying and Special Needs Children

A survey conducted found that half of parents surveyed have a special needs child who had been bullied during school hours.

Warning Signs of Bullying

  1. Unexplained injuries
  2. Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics or jewelry
  3. Feeling sick or faking illness
  4. Changes in eating habits
  5. Difficulty sleeping
  6. Declining grades
  7. Self-destructive behavior
  8. Feelings of helplessness

A bullying guide for parents. Developed by the National Autistic Society in the U.K., offers tips and resources for parents.

Council for Exceptional Children. Q&A with Dr. Chad A. Rose on the Interpretation and Information regarding the Department of Education’s Letter Addressing Bullying Among Students with Disabilities

National Bullying Prevention Resources. Offers parents and educators bullying prevention resources including educational toolkits, awareness toolkits, contest ideas and promotional products

stopbullying.gov– A federal government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human services. Provides resources on State laws and policies, training information and school bullying prevention tips.

Wrightslaw. A webpage offering information on laws and disability harassment including the legal obligation of the school.

Articles

8 ways to help your child with autism stop bullying at school

Bullying: Children and teenagers with autism spectrum disorder

Bullying among children and youth with disabilities and special needs

Bullying and students on the autistic spectrum

Signs of bullying in special needs children

How can I protect my autistic child from bullying?

How to deal with bullied children with disabilities

Why autistic kids make easy targets for school bullies

Resources For Teaching Sequencing Skills

Sequence is defined as a set of related events, movements, or things that follow each other in a particular order. For many children and adults with developmental delays and disabilities, the ability to arrange thoughts, information and language may be a challenge due to issues with their executive function capabilities. The following resources, tips and strategies will help you teach sequencing skills.

How to teach sequencing skills at home

How to teach sequencing skills to children

How to teach sequencing to preschool children

Sequencing activities for students with autism

Sequencing skills teaching strategies 

Story sequence strategies

Strategies for teaching your child sequencing skills

Teaching sequencing skills

The importance of sequencing skills in a child’s development

Tips to teach sequencing skills in children

Matching Tasks Activities

Matching task activities provide children with special needs an opportunity to learn in a fun, interactive way. Matching activities provide the opportunity for children and adults to master a skill through repetition and leads to higher learning. Matching and sorting helps to strengthen memory and identify the relationship between two or more items. Below are links to worksheets and matching activities.

All words-to-pictures matching worksheets

Color matching activity

DIY kids emotion matching game

Match the number activity worksheets

Matching activities supporting reading development

Matching animals to pictures

Matching colors when you only have a minute

Matching words to pictures

Rainbow bear color matching spinner game

Teaching preschoolers to mix and match

What is Lowe Syndrome?

Lowe Syndrome also known as Oculocerebrorenal Syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that affects the eyes, brain and kidneys. It has a prevalence of 1 in 500,000 and mainly affects males.

Signs and Symptoms
  • Congenital cataracts
  • eye abnormalities and eye disease
  • glaucoma
  • kidney abnormalities (Renal Fanconi Syndrome)
  • dehydration
  • abnormal acidic blood
  • progressive kidney problems
  • feeding problems
  • bone abnormalities
  • scoliosis
  • weak or low muscle tone (hypotonia)
  • joint problems
  • developmental delays including motor skills
  • short stature
  • intellectual disability
  • seizure
  • behavioral issues

Children and adults diagnosed with children and adults may also show the following signs and symptoms due to an intellectual disability:

  • decrease learning ability
  • delays in crawling
  • delays in sitting up
  • difficulty solving problems
  • lack of curiosity
  • language and speech delays
  • poor memory
  • behavior problems
Teaching Strategies

The following strategies will help when teaching a child or an adult diagnosed with Lowe Syndrome:

  • Use short and simple sentences to ensure understanding
  • Repeat directions
  • Teach specific skills when possible
  • Use strategies such as chunking, backwards shaping, forward shaping and role modeling.
  • Use concrete information
  • Provide immediate feedback

Image thanks to Robert Thomson on Flickr.com (creative commons)

Resources

National Organization for Rare Disorders

Genetics Home Reference

Dove Med

Wikipedia

Teaching Strategies For Students With A Nonverbal Learning Disorder

Nonverbal Learning Disorder is a disorder you may or nay not heard of. It shares similar characteristics to autism such as the challenge in reading body language but is also quite different. By learning the signs and symptoms of nonverbal learning disorder, the better chance you have in using effective teaching strategies.

Nonverbal learning disorder is defines as a person who has difficulty in interpreting and understanding non verbal cues in the environment If 93% of how we communicate is nonverbal, a person with nonverbal learning disorder is only getting 7% of daily communication.

Dr. Byron P. Rouke of the University of Windsor developed the following criteria to assess nonverbal learning disorder:

  1. Perceptual deficits usually on the left side of the body. The child has difficulty understanding or perceiving information through the skin of both hands but the left hand has more difficulty than the right.
  2. Tends to be clumsy
  3. Difficulty with visual-spatial organizational skills. Finds it difficult to organize notes.
  4. Difficulty when encountering new information.
  5. Difficulty in knowing what is expected of you and hard to see the bigger picture
  6. Distort sense of time. Time is abstract and non-linear
  7. Well-developed, rote and verbal capacity
  8. Repetitive way of speaking
Signs and Symptoms
  • Excellent vocabulary and verbal expression
  • Excellent memory skills
  • unable to see the bigger picture
  • Poor motor and coordination skills
  • Difficulty with reading
  • Difficulty with math reading problems
  • Fear of new situations
  • May have symptoms of anxiety, depression
  • Misreads body language
  • Well-developed vocabulary
  • Better auditory processing skills than visual processing skills
  • Focus on details

Teaching Strategies For Parents and Teachers
  • Give assignments in chunks
  • Give constructive feedback
  • Create a daily class routine and stick to them
  • Write the class schedule on the board
  • Provide several verbal cues before transition
  • Give the student time to preview and prepare for new activities such as group projects
  • Minimize transitions
  • Offer added verbal explanations when the student or child seems confused
  • Teach in sequential steps
References

Rondalyn Varney Whitney/OTR, Nonverbal learning disorder: Understanding and coping with NLD and Aspergers: What parents and teachers need to know (2008)

Woliver, Robbie (2008) Alphabet Kids: From ADD to Zellwer Syndrome.

Learning Disabilities of America

Understood

Common Signs In Tactile Difficulties

Tactile difficulties occur when the nervous system dysfunctions and the brain is unable to process information through the senses. Some children and adults with this form of sensory processing disorder will be over sensitive to touch. Between 5 to 13 percent of the population is diagnosed with sensory processing disorder.

Common Signs of Tactile Difficulties
  • Difficulty with having nails cut or teeth brushed
  • Becomes upset when hair is washed
  • Dislikes any clothing with tags including clothes, hats, shoes, and complains about the type of fabric and the style
  • Dislikes getting their hands dirty or messy
  • Overreacts when they are touched by other people
  • Oversensitive to temperature change
  • Over or under reacts to pain
  • Prefers deep pressure touch rather than light touch
  • Avoids messy textures
  • Prefers pants and long sleeves in hot weather
  • Picky eater
  • Eyes may be sensitive to cold wind
  • Avoids walking barefoot
  • Avoids standing close to other people
  • May be anxious when physically close to other people
Strategies for Handling Tactile Defensiveness
  • Use deep pressure
  • use weighted items including blankets, vest and backpacks
  • Seek out an OT
  • Utilize a sensory diet
  • Minimize time expected to stand and wait in line by having the child go first or last in line
  • Allow the child to wear a jacket indoors
  • Encourage the child to brush his or her body with a natural brush during bath time
  • Create activities using play doh or silly putty
References

Autism Parenting Magazine

Kids Companion

Sensory Processing Disorder.com

Chu, Sidney (1999), Tactile Defensiveness: Information for parents and professionals