George Lucas Educational Foundation


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One common thread in special education is the IEP. Are you happy with the ones you get for the students in your classes? How can IEPs be improved? How often do you refer to the IEP in a school year? How do you prepare your IEPs. In New York City almost all are still written by hand.

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Diane Miner Hazel's picture

Auditory Processing Disorder has been confirmed to be the base of our grandson's learning obstacles. We me Advocate who will attend PPT on Thursday...Stud is Fresh at Tech school-new to the staff. By Feb 3 academ failures & school statements "should be exited from spec ed"
"does not qualify" APD goes away...we wish! Anybody have any experience or thought with keeping this injustice away. We have a whole list of items to put in IEP to increase services & accomodations...exiting makes no sense.

Tina Lunt's picture
Tina Lunt
Special Education Inclusion Teacher in Northeastern North Carolina

You are dealing with a brain dysfunction that doesn't actually fall under a typical Special Education 'label' unless it can be proved (analyzing the testing data) that the processing problems are the cause of lack of growth academically in the child.I would have to read the reports and look at discrepancies to give further information.

Most often, in my state, if the processing issues were impeding the student's ability to learn it would likely be classified as Other Health Impaired. What state are you in? Do you have an advocate? Have you reviewed Wright's Law for any possible help. Wright's Law is designed to help people navigate the Special Education laws and gives court cases won and lost. It is on the internet and easy to read and navigate the site.
I hope this helps.

Tammy Brand's picture
Tammy Brand
NBCT from Bessemer, Alabama. I teach K-6 all exceptionalities.

I teach in Alabama and we use SETS WEB. This makes it easier to access the IEP at anytime, but still lots of bugs in the system. Also does not help write the IEP and there are still lots of badly written IEPS everywhere.

Deborah Nelson's picture

I like the idea of one national/standard IEP. Or for starters, adhere to standardization by state. For example, in Ilinois, the Illinois State Board of Education has a standard template online that is great in its practicality and comprehensiveness, but school districts in Illinois are permitted to use their own versions which are considered by some parents over-simplified and watered down even though they are still legal.

Deborah Nelson's picture

Does anyone survey parents of children with IEPs at to their satisfaction levels with the IEP process and their ideas for improvement? I think this would be a wise idea for a school district sincerely looking to enhance its procedures. Also, do educators promote parents taking time to complete the Parental Input section and include an attachment because the space provided is often much too small for any serious input about a child?

Linda Wasser's picture

Oh, heck yeah, it's easy to write a bad IEP no matter what the software is. Ours allows us to choose "prewritten" goals and objectives, which often are awful. It does check all the dates and make sure the service minutes align, which is nice.

Diane Miner Hazel's picture

School powerForceOverSpEd has moved student to 540...1st planning meeting soon...need tips to get the things we listed for the I.E.P. for next year's plan...which we have yet to no one was interested!
But thanks for prior tips with I.E.P....who knows the future?

Tina Lunt's picture
Tina Lunt
Special Education Inclusion Teacher in Northeastern North Carolina

If a child is being dismissed from Special Ed and the IEP is being replaced by a 504 plan the school MUST have a reason that is significant to dismiss. Without knowing the type of disability I will have to 'shoot in the dark'.
As the parent I would look at the Department Of Public Instruction's website under 'curriculum' and see what my child SHOULD be learning for the grade level they are entering. Knowing what my child should learn I would then present those goals and objectives from the web page and insist these be the goals to address and 504 should spell out how the school will assist the child in meeting those goals.
This approach is most appropriate when a child has a typical IQ score but has a learning disability or ADHD or other health impaired and several other disabilities that are limited in time. However, a 504 plan can follow a student through college where an IEP does not.
If the child's IQ is less than 70 I would insist that an IEP stay in effect. A 504 is intended to be a short term document in most instances for example if they broke their right arm and could not use their right hand to write or if they had cancer and would need additional school support to pass their grade as they typically do.
You might want to remind the team that the school only gets Special Ed money for IEPs in place. There is no additional monies for 504 Plans.They get 504's dumped on them without additional assistance or training. It is very odd to dismiss a child from Special Ed and replace it with a 504.
Before going to the meeting you should find an advocate in your area to assist you. There are organized family and professional based groups in most areas that can assist you with this.
Before the meeting you should ask for your "Parent's Handbook of Rights" so you will know the process of appealing what the school is doing against what you believe to be the child's best interest. That handbook is often on the state's web site under 'Exceptional Children' Department.
This is a very general answer to your questions but I hope it helps. In North Carolina there is a Governor's Advocacy Council to assist parents.

Laura A Warren's picture

Please allow me to compliment your approach utilizing the WJAT as a baseline and benchmark. Not only is the baseline performance level measured with accuracy, this allows for consistency in comparison of skill aquisition, regression and progression each year. Your logical application of the data in formulating goals to be met with clearly identifed skill aquisition and what accomadations are benefical in this mastery is a great example of a viable option for a national format for the IEP. This is the acheivement test I prefer. Your approach is very parent-friendly as well; allowing for meaningful parent parcipation as a member of the IEP team. It is clear many parents are overwhelmed by this process, imagine a lay person trying to process evalutions by OT, SPL, sch psych, ect. during their chld's IEP and then be expected to consent to the plan that will be all wrapped up in an hour or less. Frequently, parent feedback about IEP's is the meetings leave them feeling intimidated, confused by the terminology or 'edspeak', and clueless about how testing data influences the choice of objectives and services. Your approach reminds me of a well done assessment report that not only provides a test scores but effectively offeres an interpretion ofthe data in a pratical way. I find it more difficult to compare apples to oranges when reveiwing a student's file to determine the effectiveness or inadequacy of data driven IEP services when tests vary widly from year to year. I have noted the details of your well thought out approach for future reference. Commonn sense and logic work for me. Well done.

[quote]Hi! I teach in Maryland. When I put in the Performance Level on the IEP if it is a student who is just receiving services for the first time. I use the Woodcock Johnson Achievement Tests. I cut and paste and put in the paragraph that explains the portion of the sub test that was given that will be related to my goals and objectives. The student's test score is available, and I type in what they need to learn in a sentence. This will match my Goals and Objectives that I will write next. AS you know my goals and objectives will identify how I will increase the students levels in that area.The Objectives will list the skills that are needed to reach my goals. I was also told to list the accommodations that will be used to help my students reach their goals.For children who already have IEP's and our getting news ones. I list their test scores a year ago and their present test scores. Than I tell what they need to learn to master their goal. and I list accommodations that will be used.I don't understand how some one can write in that section and not have the performance level related to goals and objectives. The assessment drives the IEP and tells what skills the student needs to learn. That is where are Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum comes in. We can pick objectives on a lower grade and increase them to help our students master their goals. I hope this makes sense and helps someone.[/quote]

Diane Miner Hazel's picture

15 yr old w/ auditory processing disorder disability
now thrown out of spec ed and in 504 where "he can get everything he needs there"...504 meeting pending... HELP! What should parent/advocating adult prepare for or insist on. We have a list of 11
items of student & family "Requests for the IEP" that the PPT Team-School Sp Ed & Admin BOSSES refused to listen to... What is your experience and knowledge of the "World of 504" ???

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