Second guessing your IEP meeting is okay!

2 28 IEP Cover (2)Recently, I received a copy of an IEP and psychological report from a concerned parent of a second grade student.  Please note the student’s name has been removed; this scenario could refer to anyone male or female.

The IEP team had gathered for a triennial review and determined based on data that the student no longer qualified for resource services and would only continue to qualify for speech and OT services.  The parents did sign that they were in agreement and after the meeting felt that they might have made a mistake because their student gets into trouble a couple times a week and does have difficulties understanding grade level reading text.

The team’s assessment findings were (Remember the Average range is 85-115.) The student’s verbal IQ is 105, non verbal IQ is 120 and composite IQ is 113. These scores indicate that the student is in the average range when compared to peers who are the same age.

Academics: Letter word identification: 106, reading comprehension 85, math calculation (paper and pencil) 130, Math reasoning (Test read aloud) 114, Writing 99.  The academic scores along with the IQ scores do not show a need for special education services because the student’s scores are all within the average range. Processing scores were also in the average to high average ranges.

However, there is an area of need indicated with medical diagnoses of ADD/ADHD. Speech and Language services and OT services are also noted as areas of need. In addition, teacher reports noted in the psychological report indicate areas of concern with behavior and self-control.  If the student’s grades on report cards are low or failing, that would be enough along with the medical diagnosis to indicate special education services. With an IQ and academic assessments in the average range to above average we would expect success with academics in school.

The parents shared that the student is unorganized and often can’t find completed work or keep work to be completed.

Without knowing the students grades on report cards and State and District test, it is difficult to tell from the reports received if the medical diagnosis is interfering with the student’s academic success. My recommendation is to request in writing an IEP meeting.

At the meeting ask the following questions:

1. How is the team addressing behavior issues?  The student’s self-esteem is adversely affected with all of the perceived trouble that the student feels because he/she has difficulty staying on task and following classroom and school rules.  What is the team doing to teach class and school rules in a positive way that supports the student’s self-esteem and continued academic growth?

What you want is a behavior support plan. The student needs to be directly taught social nuances and expected school behavior.

2. The speech and language goal was for articulation and he/she receives thirty minutes of pull-out a week. The student needs a speech goal for pragmatics: how to act in different environments and how to read social cues.  You would like the student to practice with scenarios given during speech and language pull-out. Practice is needed on how to behave and react to different stimuli in different environments.

3. To support positive behavior changes you want a positive behavior reinforcement system available in classes.  For example, when the student is on task he/she is acknowledged and given a token of some sort and when___ amount are earned he/she gets____.  When the student is acting out, the behavior is ignored and not reinforced. You also want a communication system between the classroom and home so that you can reinforce the positive behaviors that occur during the school day.

4. Reading comprehension score of 85 is low considering what you would expect from his/her abilities and other scores.  What is the school doing to teach strategies for improving reading comprehension?  The data shows that he/she can read each word and spell each word, but he/she needs strategies for improving his/her comprehension.  How is this area of need being addressed?

5. OT services currently indicate fine motor goals in handwriting. I would recommend that executive function skills inventory be given to the student’s teachers.

What is your advice?

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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