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.