IEP's: The In's and Out's of Individualized Education Programs
The Individualized Education Program (IEP) is a legal document that serves as a blueprint for children needing specialized education and services. There are many people involved in the creation of the IEP, but be aware that you will be your child’s primary advocate, and will be very involved in the terms of representing your child and what he/she needs. In this article we will discuss some of the essential factors that make up this document.
An IEP is comprised of numerous goals that are set for your child. They will vary depending on your child’s age, needs, diagnosis, and mental/cognitive abilities. These goals should be attainable and not beyond the scope of what your child can accomplish. The child’s strengths and weaknesses should be reflected within the document as well. The diagnosis should be accurate, up to date and outline the areas of learning that are affected by it. If applicable, your child’s previous performance indicators should also be up to date so that it may serve as a proper benchmark when measuring future progression.
The timetable of objectives and expected progress should be appropriate, and should also be prepared in a way that gives access to professionals to report progress throughout the life of the IEP. Another important consideration is your child’s social needs. The current law mandates that a child be placed in the “Least Restrictive Environment” possible. This means that your child should have the maximum amount of peer involvement as their needs allow for.
Be aware of your child’s rights! Once you have a diagnosed learning disability, your child becomes eligible for school services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, Section 504 states what protection and rights your child is eligible for. In short, it states that it is illegal for your child to be discriminated against in any way because of their disability. Access to an education comparable to that of their peers should be guaranteed.
Dr. Sepideh Homayoonfar is a licensed child clinical psychologist located in Great Neck, NY who specializes in comprehensive pediatric evalu
ations. Should results warrant a diagnosis, she can help parents and their child better understand ADHD, develop better coping strategies, and improve organizational skills.
Please feel free to email us or call our office at 516-484-1200 for a free phone consultation and any other questions that you may have!