Show # 18- Melody's back! - All About IEP's
The kids are finally back in school, and we can podcast to our heart's content! Melody and I sit down and discuss what you need to know to be prepared for a Individualized education Plan (IEP) meeting. All IEP's are legal documents and have legal consequences - They are contracts, plain and simple!
To be prepared for your IEP, one of the first places to go is Wright's Law. Peter Wright is an attorney and has a great website that can help walk you through the complicated legal stuff you need to know about IEP's. You can also go to the US Department of Education website, but this information is either in pamphlet language or legalese, and not alot in between.
IEP's have three basic parts: a. The Child's present level of functioning and achievement, including any classroom accommodations and assistive technology used (alphasmarts, aides, etc.); b. The Annual measurable goals the child is expected to achieve with the special education services provided, and c. The services to be provided to the child to meet the annual goals, including when, where and frequency of the services offerred.
Every Goal on an IEP should meet the SMART standard: Goals need to be specific, measurable, use action words, be realistic and relevant, and be time related- ie. this goal shall be completed in 3 months time, etc.
Remember, you need to understand the basic facts of your child's situation, including the results and implications of any testing or evaluations; You need to form a chain of evidence, or a paper trail of medical records, report cards, evaluations, IEP's, correspondance with the school district, and the like. We suggest keeping this information in a three ring binder or at very least all together, and bring it to any IEP meeting, so you have records right there when you need them. Create a time line of events, to keep track of what happened when, including any form letters signed, received, and copies of any correspondance you've had with the school.
You need to understand some basic statistics. There is a good primer on the Wirght's Law website about understanding how tests are scored and what the results mean; we'll talk about this in a future podcast as well.
Consider also going to an IEP meeting with at least one other person- a spouse, or an advocate- someone who can also listen and talk to you about the meeting afterwards, take notes, and possibly be unbiased about what went on. IEP meetings can be emotionally intense, and having a friend or advocate with you can be very helpful.
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Todays's songs are Internet Girl by the Gorskys and Walk in London by Null Device, both available on the Podsafe Music Network, at music.podshow.com.AND-I am going to Podcamp this weekend! I will tell you all about this unique opportunity to hook up with some of my favorite podcasters next week!