Summer is fading fast. Too fast. As soon as August arrives, I start thinking about IEP’s (Individualized Education Programs). Do my clients have everything they need? What services will we have to fight for this year? Will the new teacher build a positive relationship with my client? Will he support this kiddo in all the ways that matter?
Back to School Fact Sheet
One of the best ways to advocate for your child and start the school year off right is to share a Back to School fact sheet with her new teacher. A simple list of her motivations, lessons that are more difficult, skills at which she excels, and what she hopes to accomplish this year and in the next 5 years. Even career aspirations are admissible. Don’t forget a picture!
Parent Concern Section of the IEP
IEPs themselves have a Parent Concern section. This is the most valuable section for you, as a parent, because it’s YOUR blank slate. Your Back to School fact sheet should look similar to the IEP Parent Concern section because it’s where you have the most input. Make sure it highlights your child’s strengths and is thoughtful rather than dreary when discussing weaknesses. Tone matters. I explained how to build this section in a recent presentation for the Autism Community Network here in San Antonio. Here is a bulleted list from a DC advocate, Ms. Allen:
*Be concise, yet thorough
*include interests, values
*This year’s goals
*goals for 1-5 years
*include specific strategies that have helped
*be results-oriented and strength-based
A Sample Strength-based Student Description:
Endrew is a friendly young man with a strong sense of justice and a passion for criminal and law programming. He is tech-savvy and has career aspirations in law enforcement, family law, or forensic science. He is social and enjoys talking to his peers and spending time with them. He does well in Math when he can use manipulatives. He is working towards multi-step problems and performs better with teacher assistance. His reading comprehension improves when he can use simplified text and a reader. He can recall storylines more thoroughly when visuals are provided along with a graphic organizer. At home, he prefers to move pictures to indicate he has completed chores at his own pace. He is a snappy dresser and loves the Spurs!
What else is in an IEP?
The 4 other sections of the IEP include current performance, goals, assessment, services, placement, transition, and an FBA and behavior plan if needed. I’ll be digging into each section of the IEP as it relates to parents in this series over the next few weeks.
As always, if you’re looking for an advocate or an IEP review, reach out to me: email@example.com so we can schedule a consultation.