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How to be an IEP (Informed Effective Parent) Team Member

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1 How to be an IEP (Informed Effective Parent) Team Member
For Parents of Children Receiving Preschool Special Education Services Anne Arundel County Public Schools Partners for Success Resource Center

2 Core Assumptions All children have dignity, potential, and talents as well as the right to an education that allows them to develop those abilities fully and contribute to society (Senge et al., 2000).  All families want the best for their children and can be valuable resources to the school community (Henderson et al., 2007).  Partnership entails clarifying and sharing roles and responsibilities (Lawrence-Lightfoot, 2003).

3 Partnership Partnership is a relationship between two people in which each has equal status and certain independence but also some obligation to each other. Equal in value and status. Partnerships require sharing knowledge for the good of the child. Independence in regard to each partner’s ability to bring viewpoints and contributions for cooperative decision making. Obligation or responsibility to work together for the child’s education.

4 Teamwork Teamwork is the concept of people working together cooperatively. Coming together, sharing together, working together, succeeding together Unknown

5 Special Education Process

6 Special Education Process
Screening Annual Review Evaluation Eligibility Instruction IEP/IFSP* Development

7 Special Education Process
Parent Cycle Awareness

8 Screening Screening Requested
When parents or teachers notice that a child is having difficulty learning and a disability is suspected, they should give that information in writing to the school principal. Screening Completed by the IEP Team A team of people from the school will gather available information about the child. The team will consider whether the child has responded to scientific, research-based intervention as part of the process of determining whether a disability may exist. Then together with the parents, the team will conclude if an evaluation is needed or appropriate. Written permission is obtained from the parents to conduct the evaluation process.

9 Evaluation An evaluation is a careful look by a team of teachers and specialists at a child’s abilities, strengths and weaknesses. It provides information about the child’s educational needs based upon a multi-disciplinary battery of standardized assessments through individualized testing of the child.

10 Eligibility The IEP team, which includes the parents, meets to review the evaluation results and determines if the student is eligible for special education services under federal guidelines. An IEP must be developed as soon as possible once the student has been identified with a disability and in need of special education services. If the disability suspected is not confirmed, alternative intervention strategies will be designed to address the presenting problem.

11 IEP Development The IEP team meets to determine what special education instruction and supports are required to meet the child’s educational needs. An IEP is then developed which may require related services (e.g. speech/language therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, etc.) in addition to specialized instruction. The IEP is written and approved and will be implemented as soon as possible.

12 IFSP Extension Development
The IFSP Extension will allow parents of students who previously received services under an IFSP and who are determined eligible for IEP (Part B) services, to choose the continuation of IFSP services (Part C). Families of eligible students will continue to receive family training and supports. This option creates the opportunity to incorporate the strength of the special education preschool/pre-kindergarten educational component with the existing infants and toddlers family-centered service model. The IFSP Extension “will wrap the arms of family support around early childhood education practices to promote school readiness.” Extended Part C Option: Age 3 to Kindergarten Age Policies and Procedures. MSDE, Div of Sp. Ed/Early Intervention Services, Early Childhood Intervention and Education Branch

13 Instruction After the IEP is written, the child receives special education instruction, which focuses on the goals and objectives outlined on the IEP. This instruction will be directed toward teaching the skills necessary to become a successful and independent learner.

14 Annual Review At least once a year, parents and teachers meet to review the child’s IEP and the progress the child has made. During that meeting, the team will evaluate goals and objectives, identify current levels of educational performance and revise goals, objectives, accommodations and services as needed.

15 Re-Evaluation Every three years, or sooner if needed, each child is eligible for a new comprehensive evaluation and a determination will then be made regarding whether the child continues to need special education services.

16 Special Education Timeline at Glance
Up to 90 Calendar Days ASAP IEP is implemented as soon as possible 30 Calendar Days 1 Year 3 Years Special Education Timeline at Glance Parent or member of school staff requests an evaluation in writing. Process begins. IEP Team meets to review existing data (collects additional data, if necessary) If a disability is suspected, parent consents to an evaluation (The IEP Team has up to 60 calendar days to complete evaluation without going over the 90 calendar days from receipt of written request) Evaluation is completed and results are shared If student is eligible, an IEP is written by the team and parent/guardian must consent to implementation for services to begin Annual Review (within one year) Reevaluation (within three years)

17 IEP Individualized Education Program

18 Who is Eligible? Children Ages 0 to 21 with: Deaf-Blindness
Autism Deaf-Blindness Developmental Delay Emotional Disability Hearing Impairment Intellectual Disability Multiple Disabilities Orthopedic Impairment Other Health Impaired Specific Learning Disability Speech/Language Impairment Traumatic Brain Injury Visual Impairment

19 Definition of IEP The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the central component of the special education law: the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, referred to as IDEA. The IEP is both a process and a document: … the process includes the planning steps taken by a multidisciplinary team, including the parent, to assess the child, determine eligibility, and to design an appropriate educational program. …the IEP is a dynamic working document describing the special education and related services specifically designed to ensure that every student with disabilities receives an appropriate education.

20 Purpose of IEP …mutual agreement, shared ownership, an opportunity for creative collaboration …communication between parents and school personnel, as a joint agreement …management tool to make sure that the program is carried out by all members of the team …monitoring instrument to check whether the student’s special needs are being met by the IEP …evaluation measure to determine whether the student is progressing toward stated goals The IEP is not a contract, but a tool. It is to be changed as the needs of the student change, or if adequate progress is not being made.

21 IEP Content  Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance  Measurable annual goals  Statements of special education and related services with accommodations and modifications as needed  Dates, frequency, location, and duration of services and accommodations which meet the child’s LRE (least restrictive environment) based on his/her needs  Statement of participation in statewide and local assessments  By age 14, transition statements focusing on course of study, and by age 16, transition goals including interagency involvement. (A.ACPS)

22 Least Restrictive Environment (LRE)
 It means that children with disabilities are educated with their typically developing peers to the maximum extent appropriate  The child's placement is - determined at least annually - based on the IEP - as close as possible to the child’s home  The child is educated in the school that he or she would attend if non-disabled unless the IEP requires some other arrangement  Placement decisions are based upon the unique needs of the child and made by the IEP team

23 Least Restrictive Environment Preschool Services
Single Service (Primarily Speech) Community-Based Settings (Private Preschool, Child Care, Head Start Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) Classes (Pre-K, Swinging Door) Separate Public Schools (Ruth Eason, Marley Glen, Central Special) Less Restrictive More Restrictive

24 Least Restrictive Environment Continuum of Services
Regular Education Classroom  Regular Education Classroom with Supplementary Aids, Services, Instruction (Team-Teaching)  Anchor Room (Elementary School)  Modified Self-Contained (MINC, ED, FLS)  Self-Contained Classroom  Separate Public Schools (Ruth Eason, Marley Glen, Central Special)  Private Schools Less Restrictive More Restrictive

25 Reporting on Student Progress
IEP progress is to be reported on IEP goals and objectives at least quarterly. These reports are included with report cards each marking period. IFSP Extension – Progress is reported as with an IFSP: Periodically, every 6 months, or more frequently if conditions warrant.

26 Advocacy

27 What is Advocacy? Speaking on behalf of another individual or group to bring about change. Type of problem solving.

28 Advocacy Is... Building self confidence. Organizing for change.
Investigating situations. Understanding and using the law. Knowing where to go for help. Locating the person who has the power to make decisions. Analyzing and resolving problems. Settling valid complaints informally/ formally.

29 Deadly Sins for Advocacy
Using sarcasm. Criticizing and finding fault. Blaming and shaming others. Bullying and patronizing team members.

30 Why Partnership and Advocacy Are So Important
Parent involvement is more important to student success, at every grade level, than family income or education. IDEA promotes and is based upon the concept that “teams” make decisions for the student, and that parents are partners on the team.

31 It’s All About Your Child
 Learn all you can about your child's special needs  Remember your child's strengths Use the knowledge and skills you already have  Keep current on state and federal laws Remember as a parent you know your child best and bring this knowledge to the team!!! SPEAKER NOTES: Learn all you can about your child's special needs  Talk with professionals and other parents. Read as much as you can so you become the expert. Try to have a complete understanding of your child's special education needs. Remember your child's strengths Try to keep things on a positive level. The disability is just part of who your child is How can your child’s strengths and interests be used to enhance his or her ability to learn? Use the knowledge and skills you already have Learn about related issues, such as advocacy, effective communication and organizational skills, negotiations, and conflict resolution. Keep up-to-date on state and federal laws governing education and special education Participate in a workshop to learn your rights and your child’s rights. Become familiar with the basic terminology and acronyms used in education. SUGGESTED HANDOUT: Technical Jargon – The Parents’ Place of Maryland

32 Bridges and Barriers to Communication
Communication bridges are positive exchanges between parents and teachers.

33 Barriers that Improve Communication
 Understanding each other’s roles and responsibilities and who to communicate to  Respecting each other’s time and responsibilities  Setting boundaries of how and when to exchange information, and maintain contact via phone, notes, s and meetings  Exchange information in a positive way  A mutual desire to inform, discuss, and solve problems - all focused upon the student’s growth and development

34 Barriers that Hinder Communication
 Failure to understand the importance of open, honest communication  Either parents or school personnel not fully understanding each other’s perspective  Different cultural expectations of parents and teachers  Negative memories of their own school or less than perfect past experiences  Defensiveness  Hesitancy of team members to communicate too often

35 Supporting the Partnership through Effective Communication
Bring a positive attitude  Build mutual trust  Realize your value  Commit to the process SPEAKER NOTES: A positive attitude toward the partnership is the biggest key to success! Viewing the partnership as you would any relationship includes mutual trust. Trust is generally earned, however, some trust has be to offered in good faith to begin the relationship. Realizing that you have something valuable to offer and so do the other members. A willingness to listen, even when the information is contrary to what you believe. A commitment to the knowledge that a partnership is a process.

36 Before the IEP Team Meeting
Communicate regularly with the teachers. Maintain close contact with anyone responsible for coordinating your child’s program. Review the draft IEP and assessments and compile a list of questions to bring to the meeting. Discuss IEP draft with the child, if appropriate.

37 At the IEP Team Meeting You have the right to invite anyone you wish.
Bring the child into the meeting with you if appropriate. Be specific as possible about child’s abilities and needs. Stick with the issue at hand - your child’s education.

38 At The IEP Team Meeting Remain as friendly as possible, separate people from problems. Remember that understanding is different from agreement. Ask questions!!! Ask questions!!! Keep an open mind to all proposals. It may not be possible to finish all the business at hand in one session.

39 After the IEP Team Meeting
If you think teachers or other team members are doing a good job, tell them! On going communication with school regarding goals and objectives. Ask for an IEP meeting if you think it is necessary.

40 Keep a Paper Trail Keep records in chronological order:
Medical and developmental history. Your own notes about your child. Assessment reports, IEPs., Transition plans Notes of phone calls and conferences Include dates, person contacted, purpose, results. Letters sent and received. Any other relevant information.

41 If you have concerns…  If you have concerns about the IEP process or document…speak up!  First, start by talking to your child’s teacher, then the school administrator  Contact your school-based resource teacher for special education  Follow your parental rights/procedural safeguards regarding resolving disagreements  Facilitated IEP’s are available upon request by contacting the Anne Arundel Conflict Resolution Center at

42 You ARE Valued The adults in a child’s life can make a difference. When parents and school staff work together as “partners, ” the child’s educational outcomes can be enhanced.

43 Resources and Partners
 Infants & Toddlers /Early Childhood Services AACPS,  Partners For Success Resource Center, AACPS  Family Support Services Family Support Network, Preschool Partners, Partners for Success Centers  Parents Place of Maryland

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