It's IEP (Individual Education Plan) time. For many parents, that might as well be a foreign language.
So…to borrow a few words from the "Sound of Music", Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start…
WHAT IS AN IEP?
- It's a written plan that describes the special education and/or services needed by a student to reach learning goals. It's based on the student's strengths and needs.
- The recommendations in the plan could be delivered in the regular classroom or could be delivered in a specialized class.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD NEEDS EXTRA SUPPORT?
- Ask your child. Are there particular things that are always difficult at school?
- Ask the teacher. Are there ways that the teacher can provide extra help?
- Ask the principal for a School Team Meeting. Prepare for the meeting with your questions and any documents that you think might help. An IEP may be one of the recommendations that come out of the meeting.
WHICH CHILDREN NEED AN IEP?
- Students having difficulty with the curriculum
- Students progressing at a slower pace than expected
- Students achieving much more than expected
- Students with medical or behavioural issues that are causing them difficulty with learning or interacting at school
- Any child who has been identified as exceptional with an IPRC must have an IEP. (Check with your school or the Ministry of Education about the various categories of exceptionality).
WHAT IS IN AN IEP? AND WHO WRITES IT?
- The teacher writes the IEP and will consult with parents and Learning Support staff as needed.
- The IEP has in it the following information:
- The student's strengths and needs
- What special education services the student will receive, where and when s/he will get it and who will provide it
- How the student's progress will be measured
- Goals for the student and teacher to work toward
- Special education equipment, if any, to be provided
WHAT IS A SMART IEP?
- SMART is an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, active and achievable, realistic and relevant, and time-limited.
- A SMART annual goal can be: Will work toward achieving Grade 1 expectations for math, with significant modifications in problem solving skills.
- A SMART expectation in achieving that goal can be: Will solve simple problems involving counting, joining, and taking one group away from another, and will describe and explain the strategies used.
SOME NUTS AND BOLTS INFORMATION
- An IEP has to be developed within 30 school days of a student being placed in a special education program. (The program may be some accommodation in the regular classroom or it may be a program outside the regular classroom.)
- That means that a new IEP is developed at the beginning of every school year. It also means the IEP is adjusted at the beginning of each school term.
- The parent gets a copy of the IEP and every parent is encouraged to monitor the child's progress.
- The IEP isn't set in stone. It will change as the student's needs and circumstances change. In fact, it can be tweaked any time during the school year.
SOME PLACES TO GO FOR MORE INFORMATION
- Individual Education Plans (IEP) Samples developed by The Council of Ontario Directors of Education (CODE)
The IEP samples are designed to provide content to inform the collaborative development of IEPs The samples are not intended to be copied but are being shared to help provide examples of information and wording that can be used to plan effectively for students with special education needs. http://www.ontariodirectors.ca/IEP-PEI/en.html
- People for Education listing of IEP resources. http://www.peopleforeducation.ca/search-results/?q=iep