3 Unfiltered Truths about Special Education in 2023

This week on the Special Education Inner Circle podcast, I’m sharing three hard truths about special education in 2023 that will be carried over into 2024. 

I know, I know - it's been a long year already. But we have to acknowledge where things currently stand if we want to make progress next year.

First up - the massive staffing shortages. This is an all-hands-on-deck crisis, with teacher prep programs even shutting down due to low enrollment. But we can't keep writing IEPs as if teachers and therapists will magically appear. We need to get creative with service delivery models while still meeting each student's unique needs. No more setting kids and staff up for failure with IEPs written for the good old days of fully staffed schools. There’s always more than one way to provide FAPE. We just need to find what works in your school with your resources - it’s possible!

Next, why is assistive technology still treated as optional? Assistive tech is NOT just an iPad with a communication app. Here’s the exact cut/paste from IDEA law when it comes to Assistive Technology.

“Any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the functional capabilities of children with disabilities.” [(20 U.S.C.1401(1)].

I challenge you to find any student who doesn't use some form of assistive tech according to that definition. (Hello, visual timers, social stories, and sensory tools!) We also need to take a hard look at how standard devices, such as Chromebooks given throughout an entire school, often miss getting delivered to the Special Education classrooms. Let's close this gap in 2024!

Finally, we have to move past "old-fashioned" advocacy with threats of lawsuits flying at IEP meetings. Are there extreme circumstances that happen occasionally? Yes. But there are better ways built into IDEA itself, to solve struggles with the IEP,  that most IEP teams fail to fully utilize first. Yes, I'm talking about both schools and families both missing the mark on what strategies to use.  And no, I’m not talking about state complaints and other red tape paperwork. 

I’ve been helping families and schools build IEPs together for 25 years and I’m extremely proud that every situation I’ve ever been brought into was solved without state complaints or due process. (And that’s not because all the situations were easy. It definitely got close sometimes, but we found a way!)

Inside the Master IEP Coach® Mentorship, (which is for parents, teachers, admins, and therapists), I'll teach you how to use hidden sections of the IEP that others ignore to build detailed IEPs with less stress and more results. See how here.



Exciting News! We're sending Dreamsicle Orange Time Timer® TWISTS for everyone joining us in the January Master IEP Coach® Mentorship!  A quick twist to set the time (up to 90 minutes), a pause button, a magnetic back, and an audible, continuous alert (up to one minute) to indicate when time is up. Plus - the full countdown disk will represent whatever duration you set. I’m loving this upgraded visual timer and I can’t wait to send one to you! Join the Master IEP Coach® Mentorship Here.

Click the pic to find out how you can become a Master IEP Coach®, too!