An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a Marathon, Not A Sprint

As a special educator, for years I sat on “that side” of the table.  I was the teacher whose job it was to write the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for their child’s educational experience and develop goals to help them learn and flourish in their environment.  On “that side” of the table are also school administrators, social workers, psychologists, speech and occupational therapists, and general education teachers.  All sit and discuss a little about the good things the child is doing, but they also discuss a lot about the not so good things the child is doing (or not doing).  It’s a very tough place for a parent to be.

Years later, as a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst (BCBA), I sit on the other side of the table.  Today, I sit with parents and listen to the professionals talk about these children.  Today, I sit and wonder if I recognized how overwhelmed and uneducated about this process these parents were.  It’s not their fault.  You don’t know what you don’t know.  When I take my car in for a service appointment, the mechanics might as well be speaking another language.

Under section 504 of The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, each child is entitled to Free, Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).  Do not accept when a school system tells you they “don’t have the resources” to provide what your child needs.  If your child needs it, they must provide it.  Additionally, the IEP meeting is comprised of a team.  If you don’t agree, don’t sign it.  The IEP is a LEGAL document.

The following article is just the beginning.  Be as educated and prepared as you can be.  If you don’t understand something, ask.  There is help out there.  This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint.  Start training!

 


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