Does this apply to my child?
If you are a parent or guardian of a child with an eligible disability you are protected under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004). Your child has the right to a Free and Appropriate Public Education in school, meaning any additional services required for your child to access the curriculum are free to them through public expenses. Keep in mind that this only applies to children who attend public school.
What is an IEP?
The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is legal document developed specifically for your child. It serves as a roadmap, laying out services and supports through the special education that are needed to help your child succeed in school. IEP meetings occur annually, or more frequently if a parent requests a meeting. Triennial IEP meetings, which include a full re-evaluation of your child, occur every three years.
What can I do?
As a parent/guardian, you have participation rights. You have the right to be involved in the planning, goal setting, and tracking the delivery of services. Your input is needed for determining eligibility, goals, and plans. A large part of this occurs at the IEP meeting, but it is important to keep an open line of communication with teachers and staff throughout the year.
What should I expect at the IEP meeting?
Any time you or the district attempts to initiate change in identification, assessment, or educational placement, you will receive a Prior Written Notice to schedule a meeting. During the meeting, the parent, general education teacher, administrator (such as the principal), school speech-language pathologist, special education teacher, and any additional professionals should be in attendance (note: private therapists and specialists may attend if you request). They will discuss: the purpose of the meeting, review parent rights, discuss your child’s current performance, create new goals, and determine your child’s eligibility for services. At the end of the meeting, you will have consent rights. These are the rights to consent or refuse services or accommodations recommended.
In the midst of all the teachers, experts, and reports, it is important to remember that YOU are your child’s best advocate and a crucial part of your child’s team. Ask as many questions as you need, and speak up if you feel that your child’s interest are not being properly addressed. Do not feel pressured to sign the IEP during the meeting. Instead, take it home and read it over, and make sure you feel comfortable with all of the statements and goals before signing.
If you have questions about your child’s progress or think that they could use extra support, The Speech Studio can help. A licensed, certified therapist will work with your child and develop appropriate goals to achieve maximum gains through evidence-based, data-driven therapy. Give us a call at (914) 893–2223 or visit our website for more information.