Is your child on an IEP plan?

Do you ever wonder who should be accountable for your child’s success based on the IEP goals and objectives?

This excerpt from author and learning expert Pat Wyman and her book Successful IEP’s  will give you the help and understanding you need.

As you prepare for the IEP meeting, determine who will be present for the meeting and who will be accountable for the goals and objectives written on the IEP.

Recognize that it is not only you and your child who must do certain things to achieve the IEP goals, but that school personnel are required by federal law, to follow the plan as well.

You will need to monitor your child’s IEP progress regularly (keep a notebook with dates and times) to prevent any problems and maximize your child’s success.

I want to share a very personal story with you before going on.  Several years ago my son was placed on what is called a 504 plan.

One accommodation that the team members developed for him to was to take his exams aloud since his dysgraphia made it painstakingly slow for him to write.

We met with the school principal, all his teachers, the learning experts, etc. and decided this would allow him more time and be able to show what he knew on his exams.  So I signed the plan, fully expecting it to be followed.

The very next set of exams came along and I asked my son how he liked being able to talk about what he knew rather than having to write things down.  I was “shocked” to find out that he was given all his exams in writing!

You can imagine my surprise to say the least.  I made an appointment with the principal and tried to find out why my son took all his exams in writing.  We called in all the teachers and the only reason that was given was that they “forgot”.

From that point on, during his junior high school years, the 504 plan contained specific names and specific consequences if the law was not followed.

In my experience, sometimes, school personnel, although very well intentioned, often get so busy with other educational directives that they can forget to implement your child’s plan.  Due to budget cutbacks, sometimes the school is short of the staff they need to implement the plan and also, goals and objectives are sometimes written in such a vague format that it’s impossible to determine accountability if the goals are not achieved.

In addition, Stephen W. Smith, writing in an ERIC digest article, lists several additional reasons for you to be adequately prepared and understand what may be going on behind the scenes in order to better support the entire team and insure your child’s IEP success.

  • “Content teachers may feel untrained to handle the academic and behavioral needs for special education students.  They may feel that the input from specialists is too unrealistic for implementation in the regular classroom, or they may feel that IEP goals and objectives are only for the special education teacher and not relevant in their day-to-day instruction. Because of these attitudes, special educators may feel that they lack cooperation from regular education teachers, particularly in facilitating the mainstreaming of students with special needs.
  • Parents may be concerned about including their children in regular classes and whether they will be provided with the support services required for success.
  • The IEP may be perceived as a document that is prepared by individuals who may not involved in the daily learning activities of the child.

  • The IEP may be viewed as unnecessary paperwork that must be completed, with the special education teacher mostly responsible for its development.
  • Another problem is that developing an IEP is often seen as cumbersome and time consuming. Finally, the IEP may be perceived as involving persons whose specific job is the evaluation of children, rather than seeing the gathering of information from a more ecological viewpoint (i.e., from many different settings).