Can this IEP be saved?

Can this IEP be saved?

Mr.and Mrs. John’s daughter, Sarah, a fourth grader, is autistic with good language and academic skills.   While out in general education classes in second-grade, Sarah would often break down and cry when she felt anxious or was overwhelmed. If the classroom was too busy or noisy, Sarah would be challenged to get any of her work completed.  More often Sarah’s work was incomplete and she was unable to keep up with the pace of her class.

Consequently, the IEP team met and developed a plan whereby Sarah was placed in all self contained classes all day long while in school. This current school year, Sarah is only involved with the general education population for passing periods, recess and lunch.  In the last two years, the IEP team has noted that Sarah has had some wonderful growth.  She is now participating with general education peers during recess and is educationally at grade level.

This school year, both parents would like to see Sarah be fully mainstreamed into the general education environment with one on one support. Parents are concerned that they may get some push back from members of the IEP team who may think that setting a goal for Sarah to be out in the general education environment full time with a one on one instructional assistant may be too disruptive to Sarah and the general education classroom.

Parents wrote a letter to the case manger requesting an IEP meeting and included their reasons. Parents also submitted comments and observations reports that share growth and positive interactions between Sarah and her peers at the end of last year.  In addition, parents reminded the team that academically, Sarah does complete grade level work.

Can this IEP meeting be saved?

Yes, parents set the stage prior to the meeting by announcing to team members that they wanted to explore moving Sarah into the general environment with a one on one instructional assistant.  Members of the team had time to observe Sarah, talk to administrators, and discuss opportunities and scheduling prior to the meeting.

In this case, the team listened and understood each other’s concerns.  Together, the team developed a plan that met everyone’s expectations.  The team decided that Sarah will start in the general education environment by joining a math class for about ten minutes each day with a one on one instructional assistant. The team selected math because Sarah is most comfortable academically solving math problems. The instructional assistant will support Sarah’s emotional needs and keep daily record of her behaviors and classroom reactions for the team’s review. The team agreed to convene in two weeks to discuss progress, behaviors and to look at next steps.  Each member understood that the goal was to get Sarah integrated in the general education environment for eighty percent of her day prior to the end of this school year.

About talkcounts

Diana Loiewski has been teaching special needs students for over thirty years. She not only is a classroom high school teacher, she also serves as an administrative designee in IEP meetings, and case work trainer for the military Exceptional Family Member Program. In addition, she presents on special education topics all over the country and is a co author of Individual Education Plan Workbook for Success, and Healthy Relationships a multimedia workbook for special education teens and adults. ___________________________________________________________________ Elizabeth Dominick is the parent of an 18-year-old special needs student. Elizabeth and her husband navigated the special needs odyssey from the time their son was 3 years old to the present. She and her husband have placed their son in both public and private settings and have worked with attorney advocates to get better services. Ultimately, they ended up educating themselves on special education law. Elizabeth is a past reporter and editor and currently writes parent meditations and other articles for __________________________________________________________________ Sharon McCormick is a special education teacher and blogger. She has been in the classroom for over fifteen years. Prior to that time, she worked with emotionally disturbed youth in residential and group home settings. She is clever and creative and enjoys supporting students with special education needs. ___________________________________________________________________________ Renee Tompkins is a graduate of Illinois State University with a Master’s Degree in Speech and Language Services. She is an amazing and energetic professional with fifteen years of experience working directly with special needs students. She also serves as a board member of the Special Education Foundation and supports fundraising efforts for teachers within the Poway Unified School District. She is currently employed with the Poway Unified School District and she delivers services to both groups and individuals in the transition program working with adults eighteen-years-- twenty-two years of age. Her current responsibilities include organizing and running a healthy relationship program with both men and women with intellectual disabilities.
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