“Help! I don’t know what to do about my son’s IEP! Where do I start?”
This is a question we hear a lot! The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is the cornerstone for the education of a child with a disability. It should identify the services a child needs so that he/she may grow and learn during the school year. It is also a legal document that outlines:
• The child’s special education plan by defining goals for the school year
• Services needed to help the child meet those goals
• A method of evaluating the student’s progress
The objectives, goals and selected services are not just a collection of ideas on how the school may educate a child; the school district must educate your child in accordance with the IEP. For more, see our website. https://www.autism-society.org/living-with-autism/autism-through-the-lifespan/school-age/educational-mandates/individualized-education-plan-iep/
A re-evaluation must take place at least every three years. It may, however, be conducted more often if the parent or a teacher makes a written request. An evaluation may also focus on a specific area of concern. A re-evaluation of all areas of suspected need is necessary if parents feel their child is not meeting the short-term objectives of his/her current IEP.
A great state agency every parent should connect with is their Parent Training Information Center – these are federally mandated state agencies to support parents with their children’s IEP. You can find your state’s PTI by searching keyword PTI, service type: State Key Agencies and choose your state in the Autism Society’s online referral database, Autism Source. http://www.autismsource.org
We find that searching a radius of a zip code brings the best results. You may also want to search “Information and Support” to find an Autism Society affiliate or local parent group that can offer that parent to parent insight on getting a good IEP. They also may have someone who can come along to an IEP meeting. It’s always helpful to have someone there with you – even to just take notes while you are advocating for your child. Or you may feel you need to find a special education lawyer or other advocacy agency for help your child’s IEP. They can be found by searching “Legal/Advocacy.”
Well written goals and objectives are key to getting the services your child needs; you may want to visit a website called IEP Goals and Objectives Bank, http://www.bridges4kids.org/IEP/iep.goal.bank.pdf, which provides comprehensive information.
Wright’s Law is a well-known advocacy agency and has information on many special education content areas. On the left-hand side, you’ll see the “Topics” section; here (http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/autism.index.htm#faqs) you can find specific information on autism and many other topics.
They have sections on a variety of topics that may come up with children with autism and can be addressed within the IEP:
Related Services: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/relsvc.index.htm
Due Process: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/dp.index.htm
Extended School Year: http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/esy.index.htm
They also have a “Community Helpline,” for parents to pose questions about the issues they are having with their children’s IEPs.
The Autism Society is here to support you, call us when you need to find resources in your area. Our contact center, Autism Source, open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Eastern at 800-3-AUTISM (800-328-8476) with support in Spanish also! Press 2 for English or 6 for Spanish, to talk to our Information and Referral Specialists.