Evaluations Part 1: Where to Start When a Student Needs Special Help at School

A Brief Overview Special Education is provided through the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for a student with a qualifying disability. The first step is to determine eligibility through evaluation. This article describes that process. Specially Designed Instruction (SDI) is the “special” in special education. The evaluation determines whether SDI is needed to help a student Read More

Get Ready for Your Meeting with a Handout for the Team

Parents and students who go to meetings prepared and organized are more likely to come away feeling heard and with a good action plan. This article can help you and your student prepare a one-page handout to share with the school or another service provider. Most important is to highlight the student as the most Read More

SMART Goals

In general, goals: Are required as part of the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Are designed to help a student make meaningful progress in light of the circumstances Encourage a student’s progress toward grade-level standards and participation with peers May focus on academics, Social Emotional Learning or skills for everyday living, called Functional Skills Present Levels Read More

Q&A – Should the Whole Team be Present for an IEP?

Amending the Individualized Education Program (IEP) Q: My son’s special education teacher informed me she wants to have a meeting to amend his Individualized Education Program (IEP). It is not time for his annual review, but he has met some goals and objectives and she would like to change them. Do you think this is a Read More

Inclusion Vs. Self-Contained Opportunities for Students in School

Debate continues even today on whether students should be educated in inclusive programs or self-contained programs. When looking at the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the law never uses the word “inclusion,” instead the law refers to “Least Restrictive Environment” or LRE. For some students LRE cannot be achieved in a fully “inclusive” classroom. Read More

When will my Student Graduate?

Dear Reader, There seems to be some confusion about “When will my student graduate?”  Here’s an attempt to clarify some questions and make the transition to adult life a little easier. First, there is a difference between “Graduation” and “Exiting” the public school system.  Graduation includes walking with your classmates while wearing a cap and Read More

Q&A – IEP vs 504

You Asked, We Answered! Question One: My son was evaluated by my district and they determined that he was not eligible for an IEP but recommended a 504 plan. I asked for a copy of the Evaluation Report at the meeting and was told they would get it to me as soon as it was finalized. That was Read More

Back To School for Special Education – Check List!

Step 1 Create a one-page fact sheet about your child, with a picture of your child or family attached. This will let the teacher know that your child has a family that loves and supports him or her.  Include the positives about your child and your goals for your child educationally this year. Tell the teacher Read More

Top Ten Signs …  That You’re Going to  Have a Bad IEP Meeting

By Colleen F. Tomko Take a Moment to Laugh The IEP invitation lists “drive-thru” hours. When you get to the meeting, the staff want to know what you are doing there. They give you complimentary white flags and tissues. Your child’s student ID # is 666. They try to convince you that the attending speech Read More