The Problem… A study conducted in 2006 (Fish, 2006) that involved gathering information from parents of students with autism related to their participation in IEP development showed: Parents do not perceive themselves as being treated equally among educators during IEP meetings Parents believe that their input is not valued or welcomed by most educators Instead of being kept out of the decision making process, parents want to be treated as equal contributors at IEP meetings
The Importance of Involving Parents in the IEP Process If parents are actively involved in the IEP process… The IEP team is able to learn about the student across a variety of settings including home, school, and community environments The IEP team is able to learn about the student from the true expert on that specific child: The Parent Parents are able to receive support to best meet then needs of their child at home Parents are more likely to have positive relationships with the members of the IEP team
Tips for Increasing Parent Participation Climate or tone established by the IEP team members in addition to team culture can influence parent participation in IEP meetings (Dabkowski, 2004) Ways to establish a positive climate at IEP meetings: The teacher can talk with the parent prior to the IEP meeting to inform the parent about what will be discussed at the meeting and to let the parent know how they can plan to participate in the discussions One of the IEP team members should sit next to the parent (as opposed to having educators on one side of the table and the parents on the other) Begin all IEP meetings by having the parents talk about their child’s strengths and then having the teachers talk about the child’s strengths (needs can be addressed later in the meeting) Listen to the parents’ concerns without getting defensive View the IEP meeting as an opportunity to truly collaborate and develop a quality educational plan for the child, not as a formality When discussing the needs of the student, be respectful to the child and family
Using Open-Ended Questions To promote parent involvement in IEP meetings, here are some open-ended questions you may want to consider: Tell us what your child does well. Tell us what your child enjoys. Tell us some concerns you may have about your child. What are your priorities for your child’s educational program? How would you like to participate in your child’s educational program? What questions do you have for the IEP team? What additional information would you like the team to know about your child?
Additional Tips for Making Parents Feel Comfortable at IEP Meetings Avoid using jargon Ask parents questions throughout the meeting, as opposed to just at the beginning Make as many positive comments about the child throughout the meeting as possible Provide specific information/data about the student’s progress on each goal if it is an annual review Discuss strategies used to help the child learn
Promoting Collaboration Among School Staff Members School staff members should collaborate with one another to develop appropriate goals that can be implemented across a variety of school settings If a student is receiving speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, and/or physical therapy services, these service providers should collaborate with classroom teachers for goal development and procedures for implementation
Collaboration with Related Service Providers Communication goals, gross motor goals, and fine-motor goals, should be developed by the related service providers AND the teachers Implementation should include classroom settings in addition to pull-out settings if pull-out is being provided The ultimate goal is that the student receives instruction related to these goals throughout the school day, not just when they are with the designated service provider
What are Outside Professionals? Because of the impact autism spectrum disorders have on a child across all settings, many students have professionals working with them and their families at home and in the community as well as in school. Examples of outside professionals may include: Medical doctors Behavior specialists Home-based program consultants Private speech/language pathologists Private occupational/physical therapists Respite care workers
Tips for Collaborating with Outside Professionals Avoid becoming territorial and defensive Listen to what the professionals have to say about the student Ask open-ended questions such as: What goals are you currently working on with the student? What strategies are effective with the student? How do you collect data on the progress the student is making? What role would you like to play in the student’s IEP? What questions do you have for the IEP team? How can we work together to best meet the needs of the student?
Module 2 Lesson 2 Activity Develop a plan for involving parents in the development of the IEPs for your students with ASD. Describe at list three strategies or approaches to get parents to be full contributors on the IEP team. Provide specific details for each strategy. For example, do not simply say, “I will interview the parents.” Instead provide a list of questions you will use to interview the parents if that is what you plan to do.