April 21, 2018 |
Education & Schools
Before we explore strategies to improve the IEP (Individual Education Program) planning process, let’s start with a review of the purpose of the 2004’s "Individuals with Disabilities Education Act" (IDEA).
Purpose of IDEA
The law ensures that students with disabilities have access to “free appropriate public education.” IDEA emphasizes special education and preparing students for further education, employment, and independent living.
IDEA directs IEP teams to develop an IEP that ensures each student is prepared for the future. But do you know what the future holds for your child?
It’s been said that the only way to predict the future is to create it. These following strategies attempt to do that. They have already produced positive outcomes for students and helped IEP teams work toward a common goal.
Let’s get started.
- CREATE A VISION – A vision is a clear, detailed picture of the life you hope to create for your child. You bring the future into the present so you can do something about it today. Without a clear vision, you settle for whatever comes your way. When you create a vision, you and your child take control of their life.
- SHARE YOUR VISION – Parents are equal participants in the IEP planning process. Share the vision with the IEP team. Set clear expectations. Help others recognize their role in making the vision a reality.
- HOLD ON TO THE VISION – Make the vision a way of life. Think about your child’s interests. Think about skills and supports that may be needed. Let those ideas direct IEP planning for your child. This will lead you closer to the vision.
- THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX - Allow for creativity and flexibility in planning. “We’ve always done it this way!” isn't a good enough reason. The IEP is an individual education plan designed to meet your child’s unique needs and educational goals. Look for and use natural opportunities that move you closer to the vision.
- BE PREPARED – Change can be unsettling. Plan for possible opposition in reaching the vision. You don’t have to do what others suggest. You don’t have to do what others have done before. Acknowledge and steer clear of those things that lead away from the vision. You can disagree. Learn your rights and your child’s rights. Learn conflict resolution strategies before you need them. The more you know the better prepared you will be.
Explore and learn about all the educational opportunities and rights for your child in the Education and Schools section.