IEP and IEP Process
An Individual Education Plan or IEP is written each year for every child who is eligible for ESE. The IEP is a written plan that tells the parent, child, the teachers, and other school staff which ESE services the school will provide to the child. ESE services cannot begin until the parent gives consent for services and placement and the IEP plan is written. IEPs are developed during IEP team meetings by teachers and specialist that know the student along with the parent. Sometimes the teachers will write drafts of the IEP before the meeting. If so, the parent may ask the school to share the draft before the meeting as well. Doing so will make the IEP meeting run more efficiently.
The IEP describes the services the student will receive from the date it is written for one year or less.
The IEP includes the child’s present level of academic achievement and functional skills. (Functional skills can include communication, safety, choice-making, organizational, self-advocacy, self-care, and mobility skills.) This information is used to determine what the student needs to learn, develop measurable annual goals, and what services the student will need in order to achieve these goals.
Annual goals must be written so that the goals are observable and measurable. For example:
- Max will be able to write his full name within the lines of the paper on 4 out of 5 assignments by the end of the year.
- By the end of the year, Baily will be able to solve two-step math word problems with 80% accuracy.
- By the end of the year, Ralph will use words to communicate when he is angry or upset instead of throwing things for 9 out of 10 incidences.
Benchmarks or short term objectives are required for students who take the Florida Alternate Assessment. They are optional for other students. Benchmarks are the steps or major milestones between the present level statement and the annual goal. Annual goals, benchmarks, and short term objectives should all be written to meet the child’s individual needs.
The IEP also describes each ESE service, related service, accommodation or modification, support or supplementary aid for the student. It may also list the title of the person who will make sure the student receives each service. Services, aids, and supports are help the child may need in order to benefit from school and to be educated with children without disabilities as much as possible.
Beginning at age 14, the student should participate in IEP meetings. This is to help the teenager begin to learn about their disability and to begin learning how to advocate for the supports needed to be successful. The IEP team will start discussing what the student’s plans are after high school. The team will identify a course of study and services needed to help the teenager prepare for life after high school.
When a parent or student signs the IEP, they are only signing for attendance, not for agreement. The Procedural Safeguards provided at the beginning of the IEP meeting discusses what to do if the parent is in disagreement with the IEP content.
A Parent’s Introduction to Exceptional Student Education in Florida
Written by: Iris Neil[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]