Do you wish your child had the opportunity to receive more individual attention or a tailored curriculum? A solution called Individualized Education Plans (IEP) was created to help students with specific learning needs reach their full potential. We put together five commonly asked questions around the subject of Individualized Education Plans.
1. What is an Individualized Education Program?
An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) creates a specific plan for you child both inside and outside of the classroom. This plan better tailors the curriculum to your child’s needs by offering things like:
- additional teacher or paraprofessional support
- out-of-classroom tutoring
- extended testing time
While special education teachers are typically involved in the process, the majority of learning often remains in his or her original classroom.
2. Why apply for an Individualized Education Program (IEP)?
The simple answer is to help your child be more successful in his or her academic career.
Many parents are hesitant to consider an IEP because of a perceived stigma attached to the program. Schools make an effort to discretely implement each portion of the plan to reduce or eliminate any potentially disruptive effects. Because an IEP is individualized to each student, you can be involved in the discussion as to how the plan is implemented. Children who are struggling in school may be less apt to pursue advanced degrees or be at higher risk for anxiety or depression. While applying for an IEP may be a big decision, the benefits can be tremendous and an IEP should certainly worth considering.
3. Who qualifies for an Individualized Education Program?
There are specific behaviors and diagnoses to consider when applying for an IEP. Your child must be struggling with specific academic challenges that are present in a setting that fails to provide him or her with the proper atmosphere to learn. The first step is to arrange a discussion with your child’s teacher. You may find that scheduling a conference may be more productive than pulling your child’s teacher aside before or after school. It’s much easier to deny a request over text or email, so a face-to-face discussion would be preferred. Your child will need to be assessed for specific learning disorders or medical issues which could be causing him or her to struggle.
4. How and where can testing for an IEP be completed?
There may be specific assessments that your child’s school may request you pursue. Some of these tests may be conducted by a school psychologist, special education teacher or speech therapist. Unfortunately not all schools have the resources to conduct testing in a timely manner. Your primary care physician may help by placing a referral to speech therapy or occupational therapy. You should also discuss any preexsiting medical issues with your child’s doctor. We also feel an assessment for ADHD, anxiety and depression by a licensed psychologist is paramount when considering applying for an IEP.
5. How is an IEP implemented?
After a qualifying diagnosis is made, the last step of an IEP is to map out which resources and accommodations would beneficial. You will work with your child’s teacher and principal to take advantage of additional resources. The best way to keep up with your child’s progress is to check in with his or her teacher. An IEP can be adjusted throughout your child’s academic career. We recommend you request and read your child’s progress reports.
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