As any parent can attest, keeping up with your child’s schoolwork can be challenging at times. Basic communication with teachers and administrators can help alleviate that, but for parents of children with special needs, this can be a more daunting task. While parents understand that their child is afforded an individualized education program or IEP, they may not fully understand what is required or what can be done if these requirements are not met.
When establishing an IEP for a student with disabilities, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act set out certain requirements. Below, these basic requirements will be discussed.
To begin, the IEP must present the student’s current level of educational performance. This includes their cognitive skills, linguistic ability, emotional behavior, social skills and physical abilities. The information provided may have come from testing, assessments, grades, observations or information gained from teachers and parents.
Next, the annual goals as well as short-term objectives for the child’s educational needs should be laid out. These goals and objectives are what the IEP determines to be imperative to the child’s education.
Finally, the institutional setting or placement of the child should be described. This means whether the child should be in the regular classroom, special education class, a location outside of the school or a combination of these. Additionally, any special services the child requires, such as an aid, sign language interpreter or the like, should be listed.
A parent’s role
While a child’s education team gets to know a child well in the classroom, no one knows the child like their parent does. As such, parents play an important role in their child’s IEP. To begin, a parent must agree to and sign an IEP before a child can begin special education. Yearly IEP meeting occur, and if a parent or educator seeks to change the IEP, a meeting must occur before any changes may occur.
If parents find difficulties when navigating this or any other education law matter, it is important that they take the time to understand their situation. By gaining a better understanding of the applicable laws, you can take proper action to protect your rights and the rights and interests of your child.