If you are an educator, then you are required by law to provide all children with access to public education in a manner that is not restrictive. While this is true, you also need to make sure that children with disabilities are given an appropriate education. It can be difficult to directly accommodate each child's needs. This is one reason why an IEP or an individual education program is created for each student. Keep reading to learn a little bit about this and how it should be implemented with the law in mind.
Create The IEP Document
An IEP is not simply a plan, it is also a document that outlines the disability of the child, their specific needs, and how the educational needs will be addressed. Any specific weaknesses or behavioral issues are described in the document and also how these sorts of things will be managed. The IEP also informs parents and teachers about the services that will be provided to the child and how the overall progressions or the progress of the child will be measured. Specific measurement criteria is often important, especially in cases where children have severe disabilities and where progress may be slow and difficult for parents to see over a period of time.
Many professionals should be involved in creating the IEP, because the document is a legally binding one. This means it needs to be followed once it is drafted and signed by the school and the parents. Psychologists, behavioral specialists, special education teachers, school administrators, and parents should all be involved with document drafting.
A special education lawyer should also look over the IEP to make sure that the wording is not open to interpretation, too vague, or too specific. This can greatly reduce misunderstandings.
Start With An Evaluation
By law, the IEP can only be created once a special needs child us fully evaluated. This provides a starting level of performance for the individual so that future assessments can be compared. Also, the evaluation outlines the grade level of the child, their intellectual capacity, and the severity of learning disabilities. The initial evaluation helps educators to develop a framework for educational goals as these goals are required in the IEP.
If a child has not been evaluated previously, but a disability is suspected, then there are several people who can request an evaluation. The parent, a physician, the school, or another type of professional can make a request. However, evaluations can only be completed after the parent consents to the evaluation. Legally, it cannot be carried out without the parent giving written consent.