Learn Your Special Education Laws, Special Education Rights, and Share IEP Goal Ideas

Mar 20
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by Dennise Goldberg

Spring is here, although you wouldn’t know it judging by the weather in some parts of the country.  Spring break is upon us; so many people will be taking family vacations to reconnect with their loved ones.  However, when the break is over, it will be time to get down to serious IEP business.  When classes resume, there are probably 8-9 weeks of academics left until summer break and during that time your child will be preparing and taking state tests.  When you think about it, the semester is almost over.

If your child has not had and IEP all school year or does not have an IEP scheduled for after spring break, it’s time to act!  You need to look at your child’s IEP to see what needs to be addressed, changed, added, etc.  I haven’t met a child with an IEP that didn’t need adjusting every few months let alone every year.  Children’s needs change constantly; they will master one task and find difficulty with another.

Think about your child’s placement this year…..was it the correct one?  Remember, the right placement is a key component to help your child receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).  Make sure you discuss this with the IEP team in the next couple of months before your child’s placement has been decided for the Fall 2013/2014 school year.

You also need to think about how well your child has done with their academics; when was the last time they had assessments done?  If they have been struggling all year and it’s been a full year since the last assessments you must request new assessments prior to IEP meeting.  Remember the law states that once the school has a signed assessment plan from the parent, the school has 60 days to perform them at least in California (Check your own State Law).  Which means parents need to be aware that time will be running out sooner than they realize to have assessments done prior to the end of the school year.

Spring is also the time when schools hold transition IEPs.  When children with special needs move on to middle school or high school, it is a huge adjustment!  It’s very difficult for these kids so it’s vital that their IEP is set up correctly.  Again, if your child has not had academic assessments done in the past few years, I highly recommend you request them for your child before entering middle school or high school.  You need to know where they are in terms of grade level curriculum so that the IEP accurately reflects all their areas of need.

As you can see, there are many reasons why it’s important to hold IEPs during spring time.  It’s a time to reflect on the past academic year and prepare for the next.  Do not wait until a few weeks before school ends to finally address your child’s areas of need, sometimes it requires a couple of IEPs to write an efficient and effective plan.  Remember, the IEP process is more like a marathon than a sprint.

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