If your child is eligible for special education, then you may be familiar with the Individualized Education Plan or IEP. It’s a written document that outlines the annual learning goals for your child. An IEP details instruction to use, mode of delivery, technological assistance or similar materials needed to meet the learning goals for your child with special needs.
Your child’s IEP is their learning roadmap. As a parent, you have an important role to play both in the creation and evaluation of its effectiveness. Regularly assessing your child with special needs IEP gives you an idea where they currently at in reference to the learning goals initially set for them.
There are several parts to an IEP which is often confusing for parents. Here are 4 Simple Ways To Monitor IEP Progress;
1. Ask for feedback from their teachers and other professionals
Special education teachers and specialists such as occupational or physical therapists and speech pathologists are important sources of information. Asking them directly about your child’s progress will give you an idea on how well they’re coping with the annual plan set for them. Come up with an agreement on how often you’d like to meet and talk about the progress of your child with special needs. Take note of their comments regarding your child’s behavior and response to different class sessions and instruction.
Often these special education professionals can offer much different insight than what you may experience at home. Like all children, a child with special needs traditionally acts differently in group settings than they do in their home environment.
2. Evaluate your child’s regular reports sent from their school
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is a federal law that guarantees free appropriate public education (FAPE) for all children. The law requires schools to provide parents with regular reports regarding their child’s progress in school. These reports include objective measures of your child’s progress. These measures include standardized tests and other curriculum-based measurements. Make sure that the report does not solely depend on single test or measurement.
3. Simple observation of your child
The academic progress of a child with special needs isn’t only measure in school. In most cases, progression academically is also observed through behavior at home and other places. How they behave, and interact outside of school is also an indicator of progress or regression.
Observe your child in different settings including your home and other places in the community. Take note of how they interact with people in their community (indicator of social skills) along with their peers. Write down all your observations and take note of significant findings. Children with special needs who are making progress in their IEP would also most likely show improvement in these areas.
4. Ask your child
Since they are living the experience everyday, a child with special needs is one of the most reliable sources of information for their own IEP progress. Ask them how they are doing in school including the activities that they’re involved in, which ones they like best and least, along with any difficulty that they may be experiencing. Your child’s response is a good indicator of whether they’re making good progress toward their IEP goals.
If reports, observations, and your child’s responses show slow or no progress at all, don’t hesitate to meet with their special education teachers and specialists to discuss possible changes in the IEP. If the feedback you’re receiving proves your child’s teacher may not be providing the needed level of assistance, it’s vital to approach them immediately. You are the advocate for your child with special needs and they rely on you to ensure their academic and life success.
Determine areas where they’re struggling and figure out how you can improve the goals to best suit your child with special needs unique learning objectives.
Supplemental Learning Through Special Education Tutoring
If through the process of monitoring your child with special needs IEP progress, you determine they are struggling to meet the goals set for them, you may want to consider supplemental learning. With classroom sizes continuing to expand throughout the United States and the available resources declining, many parents are taking their child’s education into their own hands. Supplemental learning through special education tutoring takes the curriculum your child is currently learning in their traditional classroom and molds it to fit their unique learning needs.
The first step in determining whether this type of additional assistance is beneficial for your child, is through a free consultation. A conversation with a special education tutor, the consultation is designed to help answer the tough questions and help guide you down a path of success for your child with special needs.
Whether your child is meeting their current IEP goals or not, it’s important to remember a label should never be a defining characteristic; instead it only proves that all children learn differently.