In the past when a child was placed into special education the placement was more of a way to place the child out of sight and out of mind. Things have come a long way since those days. The process is ever changing and developing but the key principles are the foundations of allow every child to an education. One of the most important elements to setting up an IEP for a child is including the caregivers and the child in the process. To take it one step further and strengthen the process as a whole the caregiver and the child are also educated in their rights and the resources that are available to them. Professionals for many areas collaborate on making sure the child can and will succeed. This empowerment for the caregivers can help alleviate some of the stress and fears of navigating the educational system. This has come a long way since the day of institutionalizing those with disabilities. Creating strong and lasting partnerships with parents, child and professionals can make the IEP process a very powerful tool.
Yes it is very important and mandated by law that the child's caregivers are included in the IEP process. Young children don't understand the IEP process until they get older then they have more input and can take over their IEP meetings. The more the parents understand their rights the more they are empowered to to be involved in their child's IEP. Partnerships between the parents, professionals, and later the child can make the IEP a powerful tool.
1. Look over Figure 10.3 on pages 218 and 219. Knowing what you know about goal setting, and focusing on the positive, where might you begin in your IEP meeting? What component of the IEP would seem to be a good starting place?
As I look at figure 10.3, I see it is about running an IEP meeting. I would begin my meeting by greeting the parents and the student if they come. There would be informal conversation so get the parents relaxed and comfortable with the meeting. I would provide water for everyone. I would make positive comments about the work the student is completing in the classroom. I would mention the areas the student is strong in and expresses interest in. To start the formal part of the meeting I would start with a review of the formal evaluations and assessments. I would review the current levels of performance. I would continue the meeting by discussing and sharing the resources that are being used and how the resources are working. I would be asking the parents for input during the meeting.
2. What concerns do you have over leading an IEP meeting?
I have several concerns in leading an IEP meeting. One concern is controlling the time element. I want to be sure all information is presented in a way the parents understand. I want the parents to have time to ask questions and be active in the discussion about their child. At the same time I want to be sure the meeting continues to move. Another concern I have is my lack of experience in conducting IEP meetings. I want to be sure I am professional about the meetings and not appear to be unsure about what I need to present to the parents. I need to be sure all the legal parts of the meeting are completed. A concern is being sure the parents understand the information and feel comfortable making comments and requests in the meeting. I know I will not be able to satisfy all their requests but I want them to know I will consider them and look into the requests.
One of the key thoughts as to how we preside over an IEP is to find ways to turn it over to our students. In the past, paperwork governed the process in that we blindly went through the IEP without really thinking whether the order of information was appropriate. In the last couple of years, it has been suggested that we start out focused in the students goals and skills, as in the transition portion of the IEP.