A network to share best practices for children with special needs
I've lived in three states as a parent of a child with a disability, and I've taught for over 10 years in one state. One thing I've learned is that, with any IEP, collaboration is the key. Each stakeholder has an integral part in making the IEP a working, breathing, progress-monitoring document for the student. Although it's an integral part of I.D.E.A., it's much more than a compliance requirement.
Through a collaborative process of the student, educators, therapists and parents/families, the IEP can come together to form a multi-disciplinary team to help guide the success of the student. Working together from the start can make a smoother IEP process, and each person has such a different perspective and so much to share. The IEP is the backbone of everything you do for the child. It helps to guide and shape the direction of that student. The art in the IEP is really how well it's written.
The main point is to make sure the IEP is a true and vibrant “picture" of the student and not a depiction of a pre-existing classroom or program. The Present Level of Performance (PLEP) statement is critical. Goals drive services so make sure they are carefully constructed. If it isn’t written down, it's not part of the IEP, so be sure it's reflective of all accommodations.
The notes are a good place to add additional comments and, remember, the IEP is a working document that can be changed or amended at any time. As a stakeholder, it's always good to brush up on a review of the laws and how your particular state applies those laws to their IEPs and the education of exceptional students. Parent Training Centers (one per state) are an excellent resource. Lastly, just remember, collaboration, collaboration, collaboration!