Creating an IEP Blueprint

The best way to secure an effective, appropriate, and complete IEP (Individualized Education Program) for your child is to know ahead of time what you want and what s/he needs.  Perhaps a simple proposition but crucial.


Follow these steps:

  1. Create a blueprint of the best possible program for your child.
  2. You are the superintendent and have all the power and resources – you create the program.
  3. No matter where you start, you will almost always end up a little below that – so start as high as possible.
  4. Your blueprint should include:
    1. A detailed description of the classroom/program you want for your child, including kind of class (regular class, special class etc.), # of students, age and cognitive range of students, whether they need to be students with the same challenges as your child, classroom strategies, curricula, what school.
    2. Other classroom needs:  for example maybe a quiet environment, or a small class in a small school.
    3. What support services, whether an aide, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychological counseling, etc.   Details on how often, e.g., 2 times a week, 45 minutes each, 1:1 with a specialist trained in……
    4. Staff qualifications.
    5. Will your child be involved in general curriculum – full-time, some of the day, details about specific focus.
  5. Be sure to try to visit all possible options in your district before your IEP meeting so you can see how much of your blueprint can be met.
  6. Finally once you know what your child needs – the blueprint – you need to be able to prove s/he needs those items to ‘benefit from special education.”  In short you will need evidence of the need.
By |December 10th, 2015|Hints / Tips, IEP|0 Comments

Policy Changes from Washington DC

You may read about some policy change in special education law or a school person may say, did you know that the US issued a letter changing the meaning of this or that, altered the requirements of the IDEA?

These policy letters help explain what the law means and gives guidance to school districts and parents.  For example a recent policy letter focused on  “behavior-focused treatments” for children; another stated that students who are English-language learners and are suspected of having a disability should be evaluated for special education in “the appropriate language based on the student’s needs and language skills.”  A third stated that a school district that fails to stop bullying based on disability may be found to be denying disabled students their right to a free, appropriate public education.

These letters can be of help as you work on  your child’s IEP (Individualized Education Program).  The easiest way to access these is to search:  “OSEP Policy Letters“.

By |November 30th, 2015|Hints / Tips, IEP|0 Comments

Special Education Blog – What Happens When School Districts Make a Decision about Your Child before the IEP Meeting?

Have you been to an IEP (Individualized Education Program) meeting where it seems that the important decisions about your child’s program have already been decided by the school and before the meeting?  If so this is against the law and good educational practice.

The IDEA – federal special education law which applies to all states – requires that all IEP decisions – whether eligibility, goals and objectives, related services or placements – must be made at the IEP meeting, must represent a consensus of all members and cannot have been “pre-determined” by the school.

If the school has “pre-determined” any portion of the IEP they have taken away your legal right to be a co-equal member of the team.  They are making a unilateral decision which violates the law.

What constitutes “pre-determination?”  It does not mean that an IEP team member can’t come in with thoughts about what he or she thinks is right or that the school cannot pre draft goals and objectives.  What it does mean is that each member must come with an open mind and must not have already made up his or her mind.  The line between an open mind, a pre IEP meeting thought and pre-determination can be a thin one.  Look for statements that suggest a decision is already formulated, e.g., “we don’t provide that in our district” or that the speaker is clearly not open or flexible, e.g., “I reviewed the assessments before the meeting and concluded your daughter does not need that service.”  And it may just be an over-all sense that the discussion is perfunctory and not a true give and take about the IEP items.

If the school has “predetermined” then if you were to […]

By |November 12th, 2015|IEP, Special Education|0 Comments