You Can't Fix an IEP Without THIS! (Ep 138)

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You simply can't fix an IEP without THIS! 

CONSISTENCY! You all know, I've been doing this for a long time, so when someone comes to me saying, "I need to get this IEP fixed", my first advice is always, "Okay, let's check in and see what's being done consistently with the current document." Maybe the document itself doesn't need to be fixed, maybe it's the implementation that's the problem! Before we call ANOTHER meeting with the whole team, let's make sure that the agreed upon plan of action is actually happening. Take a look at these checkpoints... 

1 Effective Home to School Communication

Start at the Parent Educational Concerns (or Parent Input Letter). Make sure that that piece is included in the IEP and that it's clear on what the focus is for both the parents and the school together. Looking at this section, think about: how are you collaborating between home and school right now? 

Many of you have a "daily sheet" that comes home or to school every day. Great! But does that give you enough information? Is that communication consistent? Most importantly, is the information meaningful? 

Does this form of communication answer the questions you have about your child or student's development and growth? No, then we need to customize it or change the process. We can't fix anything in the IEP if home and school aren't on board and moving in the same direction. 

2 Service Minutes Received

Jump to the end of your IEP. Check out your Service Minutes. You should see:

  1. Are services being received?
  2. How are they being received?
  3. Who is delivering those minutes?
  4. What data is being collected?

These four things are key in determining if the IEP is being implemented correctly. Lots of things can play a role in the lack of receiving of these minutes: staff shortages, student illness, change in location of services. Make sure you know what's happening with these services before you change the entire document. 

Let's keep moving backwards in the IEP. Accommodation and Modifications is a major piece of your child's education. The same four questions can apply here! What accommodations and modifications are at work? How are they being received? Who is delivering the accommodations and modifications? What data is being collected on them? 

WAIT! Data... on accommodations? Yep! It's not required, but doesn't it sound like the right thing to do? If a child needs sensory breaks, first, make sure that everyone know what that should look like. Then, follow up with a breakdown of how often the child takes those breaks, how long they last, what it looks like, etc. This can be great information for the team to determine whether this accommodation is working and what steps to take next. 

3 Streamlined IEP Goals

If we've written the IEP well, we should have manageable number of goals in a child's IEP. We should have very prioritized, streamlined IEP goals. If you feel like an IEP is not working, you need to figure out: are these goals being worked on during the school day? How is the goal being delivered? You might be surprised when you start asking about the delivery of the goals and how they're addressed. 

So before we rebuild an entire IEP, first let's make sure that home to school communication is effective and useful. Then, examine how your service minutes, accommodations, modifications, and goals are being delivered and reported on. If everything IS working, then this is all just even better information for your next IEP meeting. If it's not, then we've got a starting point to create real change without destroying the document you worked so hard to create in the first place. The IEP is all about consistency, follow-through, communication, and accountability.


Here's a glance at the episode... 

[3:40] "How are you collaborating between home and school right now?"

[7:35] Data... on accommodations?

[13:40] The IEP is all about consistency, follow-through, communication, and accountability.


Click here to listen!

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