Throughout my school years, I always had an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). I even attended my my Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings throughout my school years. Now, as a paraprofessional for elementary school students with Autism, I became my students’ advocate, and I am working with my sudents to accomplish their goals in school. This blog story will explain more in detail about an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is a written document that shares essential information about a child with their disability, and how it impacts them in school; This document is like representing a child’s story of their disability. Before being qualified for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), children have to get qualified based on evaluations, like from an professional and/or from the school district themselves. Plus, there are classifications of special education that children have to demonstrate in order to get qualified for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP): cognitively impaired, visually, auditory, multiply impaired, orthopedically (ex: Sclerosis), traumatic brain injury, other health impaired, communication (ex: Aphasia), emotionally disabled (ex: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder), socially maladjusted, specific learning disability (ex: Dyslexia), Autistic (ex: Autism Spectrum Disorder), and pre-school impaired. Please note that these classifications are the most recent updated ones of individuals with disabilities in the state of New Jersey. Once the student is approved through evaluations and their classification, then they are qualified for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) document is mostly created from the Child Study Team (CST), which is a group who work together with the student of their disability; The team includes the child (if possible based on severity of disability and must be fourteen years old to invited to attend their meeting), the special education teacher (if child is participating in special education), the general education teacher (if the child is participating in regular education), the school psychologist, the school district representative, the case manager, the school social worker, the related service providers (ex: speech-language therapist, occupational therapists, physical therapist, etc.), any other advocates for the student outside of school community, and the student’s parents. This team gets together once to twice a year to discuss about the student and update their IEP. They discuss for the child about team recommendations, special considerations, parental concerns, supplementary aids and services, etc. A student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) must be kept in this team ONLY; Anybody else outside of the IEP team must NOT know about their plan because its confidential.
Overall, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) document is like a guide for everyone to help educate and support students with disabilities. An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) helps teachers design lessons in a way to modify and accommodate students with disabilities. Plus, it helps teachers decide about their teaching techniques and instruction approaches when it comes to teaching students with disabilities. Families, professionals, therapists, and anyone else working an individual with any kind of disability are able to use the student’s IEP as a resource to learn more about the student and ways to help them succeed in life. If possible, I would have the student attend their Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings because they learn about themselves from others perspectives and can learn to be a self-advocate.