The elements and stakeholders of an IEP
The development of the individualized education plan (IEP) is a complex process involving several stakeholders. Every plan is unique as it is developed to meet specific needs of a student with some disabilities (Patti, 2016). However, all IEP have a similar structure that includes such domains as the student’s diagnosis, evaluation and placement, previous performance and achievements, as well as progress, measurable and attainable goals, specific objectives, and intervention (Burton, 2017). Other important elements are available supplementary resources and services, necessary accommodations, reasons for the student’s possible non-participation, as well as the intervention duration, the frequency and location of sessions. The description of the assistive technology that can and should be used is also an important component of the individualized education plan. At a certain age, students may need additional aid that is provided through their IEP. For example, students aged between 14 and 18 will have IEPs that include the description of the available transition services and achievable postsecondary goals (“Texas transition and employment guide,” n.d.). These additional services are instrumental in helping young people with disabilities in their effective integration into the society.
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As has been mentioned above, the development of IEP usually implies the collaboration of several people. The school personnel plays the central role in the process (Burton, 2017). Educators (general teachers and special teachers) are the central figures in this process since they develop the plan while the rest of the stakeholders provide their aid. For example, school administration often supervises the process ensuring that all the legal aspects are properly addressed (Lombardi & Ludlow, 2004). A psychologist is also a member of the IEP team. The student and parents are also involved in the process of the plan development or the implementation of changes (Cavendish, Connor, & Rediker, 2017). Apart from parents, it is possible to engage other people who can have valuable information about the student. Students with some health issues may trust to a limit circle of people so it can be vital to encourage these individuals to participate in the process. The community is another party that helps in developing and implementing IEPs. Certain agencies can also be involved in the process especially when it comes to transition services provided to adolescents (Burton, 2017). These agencies may include organizations providing the funding necessary to implement the IEP and transition services.
Teachers and other personnel’s awareness of the IEP for a special education student
According to the existing legislature, all the stakeholders involved in IEP development should have the major details of the plan (Blackwell & Rossetti, 2014). The information is received during IEP meetings where some modifications can be discussed. Another way to make the stakeholders aware of the plan is associated with the use of technology (Burton, 2017). For example, educators and administrators can get EIPs through the corporate email. Other people involved in the process can also receive some updates via email. It is vital to make sure that the communication channels to be used are properly discussed during the initial meetings. It is critical to make sure that the stakeholders provide their contact information and preferred ways to receive data. The individuals participating in IEP development and implementation are also notified about the time and location of every IEP meeting through several communication channels (during personal communication, via telephone or email). It can be a good idea to encourage the members of the team to initiate discussions or provide their feedback and suggestions freely, which may imply the use of a specific channel. Social networks can help in creating the necessary platform for such communication.
It is important to mention that IEP meetings are also important elements of the process of IEP development and implementation. During such meetings, the stakeholders are informed about the most important details of the plan (Cavendish et al., 2017). Any modifications and changes are usually discussed during IEP meetings. Each meeting is an important component of the process, so each participant should be present. Importantly, parents and students may invite certain professionals (healthcare professionals) or individuals (a trusted person) to participate in meetings. If a member of the team cannot participate, all the steps are taken to ensure that the process is not interrupted. If parents or students cannot or do not want to participate, educators try to convince them to be more active and make sure that parents (or, at least, their representatives) are present during each meeting.
The term “accommodations” in relation to an IEP
Accommodations can be defined as any changes in the set of materials provided, the way tasks and materials are presented, as well as any modifications in the environment (Burton, 2017). These changes are necessary for meeting the needs of each student with disability. For example, students in wheelchairs need wider spaces between rows. It is also essential to make sure that their desks are appropriate. Students with visual impairments will benefit from aid during individual work. Special education teacher or assistant may need to read some tasks to such students. Braille books and other sources may also be needed. Students with impaired hearing may need written instructions to complete tasks. Students with certain disabilities such as Cerebral palsy that prevent them from writing quickly may be allowed to record the lesson instead of taking brief or detailed notes. Such students may as well use books with larger fonts or more visuals. Students with disabilities should be allowed to use some assistive technology that is the most appropriate for their condition. Some students may need additional lighting or better acoustic options. Students who have to take medications or have specific schedules should be allowed to have frequent breaks when completing tasks.
Students with behavioral and cognitive issues need other accommodations. For example, students with behavior impairments may need to have more breaks and shorter explanations of the material. These people may also benefit from the work in smaller groups or completing more individual tasks. Students having cognitive issues will also perform better if such accommodations are introduced. Furthermore, those who are easily distracted will need headphones or even specific spaces to complete certain tasks. Students with cognitive disabilities can be allowed to use calculators or spell-checkers. These students may be given more time to complete tests or some assignments, some of which can be given as homework. Pass and no pass options should be available for such people. Tests and individual assignments often need specific attention as students with cognitive disabilities often require assistance. The instructions can be repeated several times or can be discussed with the student. Written instructions should be available to students with special needs. Depending on the student’s health condition, it is possible to use oral or written answers and testing. For example if a student has a speech disorder or lacks some social skills, they can provide written answers instead of speaking.
Blackwell, W., & Rossetti, Z. (2014). The development of individualized education programs. SAGE Open, 4(2), 1-15.
Burton, N. (2017). Creating effective IEPs: A guide to developing, writing, and implementing plans for teachers. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.
Cavendish, W., Connor, D., & Rediker, E. (2017). Engaging students and parents in transition-focused individualized education programs. Intervention in School and Clinic, 52(4), 228-235.
Lombardi, T. P., & Ludlow, B. L. (2004). A short guide to special education due process. Phi Delta Kappa Fastbacks, 523, 3-48.
Patti, A. (2015). Back to the basics. Intervention in School and Clinic, 51(3), 151-156.
Texas transition and employment guide. (n.d.). Web.