Hints / Tips

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

Mainstreaming and Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)

The IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) mandates that a child with a disability be educated to the maximum extent appropriate with children who are not disabled.  A child may only be removed from the regular education setting if the nature and severity of the disability is such that the child cannot be educated in regular classes, even with the use of supplementary aids and services.  20 U.S.C.1412 (a)(5).   This so-called “mainstreaming” right refers to the child’s right to be in the “least restrictive environment.”

The IDEA requires that each school district have a “continuum of placement options” from a regular placement all the way to residential placement. 20 U.S.C.1412 (a)(5)

While the IDEA “prefers” placement in a regular setting, ultimately all IEP decisions, including placement/LRE, must be based on a child’s unique needs.

A child’s right to LRE includes an educational placement to be as close to the child’s home as possible, preferably in the school the child would attend if non-disabled. In determining the educational placement of a child with a disability, including a preschool child with a disability the District must ensure that the placement decision is made by a group of persons, including the parents, other professionals knowledgeable about the child, the testing and the placement options.  And while these rights are important – attending a regular class, going to the school the child would attend if not disabled – each decision must be individual and based on the child’s needs.

By |October 15th, 2015|Hints / Tips|0 Comments