10 IEP Prep Steps

PARENT IEP PREPARATION

By Marie Lewis, RN, PhD, BCEA

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success."

Alexander Graham Bell

1 - CONTINUE TO TALK WITH YOUR CHILD.

What do they like or want to change?

What do they like and dislike?

What do they need.

Listen to how they FEEL about school.

For poor communicators use an alternative means of information access. Talk to other parents and children about what is going on in the classroom.

2 - SHARE RELEVANT INFORMATION

Share with the SD as soon as possible

Independent evaluations –

(at least 5-10 days prior to meetings so it may be considered)

Medical evaluations (as appropriate)

Changes in behaviors

Child complaints

Bullying issues

Feedback from other parents and children

3 - COMMUNICATE WITH SCHOOL

How do teachers and related service providers think your child is doing?

What are their concerns and recommendations?

What assistance or resources do they need?

Listen carefully and document any SDI being used and not documented in the IEP

4 - SCHOOL AND HOME OBSERVATIONS

Cafeteria during lunch

Playground during recess

Observe all settings during child’s usage and document; behaviors, levels of inclusion, prompting levels, concerns about environments, SDI observed being used.

Transportation – if an issue, follow bus and observe

Prepare a list of home and community experiences (+ and -)

Photos and skill set levels in different environments

5 - DOCUMENTATION MONITORING

Organize your records (3 years/ 3 ring binder)

Categorized (evaluations, IEPs, baselines, progress monitoring, independent reports, report cards, journals, correspondence…)

Chronological order within each category

Medical records (as appropriate)

Contemporaneous records (school communication journal, phone call or meeting summaries)

Emails (Your thank you - follow ups with documentation of important parts of your conversations, SDIs used that are not in the IEP)

Request a copy of your educational records each year (prior to scheduled shredding)

Keep copies of handwriting and date them as they come home

Keep copies of work product and tests

Previous IEP meeting letters of what was discussed, decided on and unresolved

Do you have copies of all reports referred to? If not ask for them.

Do you understand the reports and data, if not ask for assistance

6 - STRENGTH BASED SUPPORTS

List strengths that could be used to support goal development, inclusion and as motivators.

  • Linguistic - read about it, write about it, talk about it, and listen to it.

  • Logical-Mathematical - quantify it, think critically about it, conceptualize it.

  • Visual-Spatial - see it, draw it, visualize it, color it, mind-map it.

  • Bodily-Kinesthetic - build it, act it out, touch/feel it, dance it.

  • Musical - sing it, tap it, listen to it.

  • Interpersonal – teach/present it, collaborate on it, group activity with respect to it.

  • Intrapersonal - connect it to your personal life, make choices with regard to it.

  • Naturalist - sense it, feel it, experience it, relate it, think globally about it, be an activist about it.

7 - REVIEW GOALS

Review goals and make sure that they are needs based and SMART (specific, measurable, action oriented, realistic, and time measurable)

  • Baselines are available for each goal and each skill based objective (unless the objectives are just scaffolding of the annual goal.) BLs in the IEP are either with the goal or in present levels. If not – request them prior to the meeting.

  • Are all rubrics attached to the IEP or incorporated into the goal.

  • Are lexiles defined - as to sources and provided to parents

  • Are prompt hierarchies defined within the goal

  • Independently

  • 1 verbal prompt

  • 1 visual prompt

  • hand over hand (no)

  • Are transition goals supported by goals in the IEP.

  • If not - make goals that are.

  • Goals with less than 70% accuracy must be chunked down into smaller goals since mastery is 80-85%. This allows specific sub-skill sets to be addressed.

  • Reading comprehension at a 3rd grade level at 70% accuracy over 3 consecutive weekly probes.

  • PLOP 62% - running record

  • Reading comprehension at a 3rd grade level at 80% accuracy for factual questions and inferential questions in non fiction and fiction reading over 3 consecutive weekly probes.

  • PLOP:

  • factual questions – non fiction 80%

  • factual questions – fiction 70%

  • inference questions – non fiction 60%

  • inference questions – fiction 40%

  • Goals must be measurable –

  • How long is a sentence in 3rd grade vs 11th grade

  • How long is a paragraph in 3rd grade vs 11th grade

  • Hint – it is defined usually in the schools curriculum.

  • CBA – of what, how many, what level and variety

  • Same CBA other students are using?

  • Compare goals with developmentally appropriate skill lists or the core curriculum for the school.

  • Are services defined as individual or group

  • Is push-in support or pull-out support needed?

8 - PREPARE FOR THE IEP MEETING

Create an agenda for the meeting and send ahead of time

Ask for what you need prior to the meeting to feel like an equal participant

  • request that any new information be sent ahead of time so you can read and process

  • recording request - send ahead of time

Review PWN from last IEP and reasons for changes or refusals

Review records and correspondence since last meeting

Prepare your questions ahead of time related to:

  • Behavior plan/ crisis plan

  • All Related services

  • Individual or group and what size, frequency and duration

  • Does the counseling service have a goal?

  • Does the social skill group have a goal that is individualized?

  • Does lunch bunch have a goal and how are you going to measure it?

  • Is service by a licensed clinician or an assistant

  • OT vs COTA

  • Academic support - push-in or pull out services

  • Assistive technology needs (AAC needs)

  • Class size

  • Teacher training

  • Paraprofessional role

  • Transition needs and wants

  • Appropriate models

  • Friendship needs and facilitation

  • Environmental factors (noise, movement and lights)

  • ESY

  • SDIs – frequency and across what environments

  • Goals

  • Transition time needed into a related service or a class

  • Research based programming needs

  • Social cognition and inclusion need with facilitation supports

Identify any additional needs and information needed (Child Find issues) and any new symptoms or behaviors that prevent them from accessing their education

Review for progress monitoring issues

LRE review

  • Ask for the continuum of services and placements available

  • Number of students in any environment

  • Can activity inclusion occur (not for the whole class and how is that going to be managed?)

Your vision for your child – I want him to be able to ….

PREPARE A CHART OF WHAT YOU ARE GOING TO ASK FOR AND IF REFUSED WRITE DOWN WHY AND THE SD’S ALTERNATIVE OR THEIR RESPONSE.

9 - RESPOND TO IEP INVITATION

Concerns over invitation should be addressed prior to meeting

Are the people you need to talk to going to be there?

Tell the school if you are bringing someone.

10 - PARENT TRAININGS AND SUPPORT

Invite someone to support you (parent buddy or education advocate) to your meeting to take notes and support you

Learn your IDEA rights

Learn about trends

Learn about LRE and what it really means.

Use your computer to research and attend webinars.

Participate in state dept. of education free trainings

Participate in local trainings and parent support groups.

Copyright 2015 Marie Lewis

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© 2015 by Marie Lewis