An Individualized Educational Plan (IEP) should be designed to:
- Meet all the needs of your child
- Explain how the needs will be met
- Include measurable goals to determine if the goals have been met
Parents can be confused about how to write an IEP that effectively meets all of these requirements. Keeping the following tips in mind can help to create an IEP that will work to your child’s benefit.
Write clear and concise statements of your child’s current academic and social level. Goals set forth in the IEP will be difficult to measure if you do not have a clear understanding of how your child is currently functioning.
Make sure all accommodations and supports that are needed are included in the IEP. Sometimes a teacher will automatically provide accommodations, such as written study guides and you can assume it will be continued. A new teacher, however, may not supply this accommodation if it is not spelled out in the IEP.
Keep in mind the IEP is a portable document and will follow your child no matter what classroom he or she is in. Write the IEP with this in mind, making sure all accommodations that are needed are included.
Include goals and situations that can help to build on your child’s strengths, not just areas your child may be having difficulty with. For example, your child may excel in athletics. Make sure team sports are included to help build social skills.
Remember there is no limit to the number of goals that can be included in an IEP. You do not need to limit goals to “the most important goals.” Include goals for all the areas your child needs assistance in, such as academic, social, emotional, organizational, and communication needs.
Submit input to the IEP in writing. Preferably, you can submit your ideas and concerns to the IEP team prior to the meeting, to allow members of the team to come up with suggestions for help in improving areas of difficulty. At the very least, bring copies of your thoughts to hand to each person on the team at the beginning of each meeting.
Talk with professionals who have completed outside evaluations and the most current school evaluations and ask for suggestions on what support services could help your child. Make sure these suggestions have been included in the IEP.
Bring samples of your child’s work to meetings to help back up your position. This can help members of the team understand what you are seeing and why you are asking for certain accommodations.
Make sure the vision statement of the IEP include both short and long term goals. For example, in middle school and beyond, the vision statement should include goals for transitioning at the end of high school. Does your child plan to attend college? This should be included.
Create goals that are time measurable. For example, use goals with specific time limits, such as what reading level should your child reach after one year of reading tutoring?
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Eileen Bailey is a freelance health writer. She is the author of What Went Right: Reframe Your Thinking for a Happier Now, Idiot’s Guide to Adult ADHD, Idiot’s Guide to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Essential Guide to Overcoming Obsessive Love, and Essential Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. She can be found on Twitter @eileenmbailey and on Facebook at eileenmbailey.