Our son does qualify for an IEP (Individual Education Plan) at school which takes a lot of pressure off for sure. It so happens that for us, the school has been excellent, specifically his teachers. He is in first grade and the two teachers he has had have been wonderful. Their classrooms are organized and they have specific expectations in their classrooms. The routine is adhered to. For our son this works and he truly enjoys school, it is not always easy for him but he does enjoy being there. It has been suggested that home-schooling might improve his behavior simply by taking away his stress and making his world smaller, for us that is not an option. I know for many it is. I commend you! I personally do not have the patience to try and home-school him but would love to offer some experience to others who would like to explore that option. Please feel free to post in the comments section if you are having a positive home-school experience.
In his IEP he has some behavior modification suggestions to help him focus in the classroom. The biggest is that he is allowed to move around within a certain space by his desk and chair. The area has tape to give him the visual cue he needs. He is allowed to stand, sit, lounge and move around as long as he stays within the taped area. This really takes the stress away for him as he gets very twitchy if he has to just sit for long periods of time. He also has 1 hour of speech therapy and OT for his writing.
There are many behavior modification ideas for the support teachers to look at if they need to stop him being disruptive in their classrooms also. Some suggestions are: sitting closer to the teacher, being given eye contact, having instructions explained in more detail, being given an overview of the project rather than a piece at a time which ultimately helps him visualize where the project is going which in turn then helps him stay focused, and other similar ideas to help the day go smoother for everyone. He is currently working at grade level for every subject and hasn’t had a behavior problem for several months now. I put this down to his teacher’s hard work and open mind and to her being willing to refer to his IEP for ideas and how to implement a positive classroom environment for him.
His IEP has been in place since he qualified for early intervention in 2005. Our’s was written with the help of the occupational therapist and then later from his teachers and therapists at the school level. For us it has worked out perfectly. As he has progressed his IEP has changed; however, they are careful to keep services in place until he absolutely no longer needs them. Each year on his birthday the entire school team (My husband and I, the Principal, his teacher, the OT, the speech teacher, the school psychologist and the resource teacher) come together and we discuss his needs and goals for the coming year, as well as updating any goals met from the previous year.
I know this doesn’t always work out for everyone the way it has for us so I included these two links below just for reference. They are easily Googled for more information or use the links included in the text.
IEP GUIDE, How to advocate for your Special Ed Child. NOLO Books. Complete text of the Individuals with Disabilities Act of 2004
Definition of an IEP: An Individual Education Plan is a plan that describes or lays out necessary modifications for a student that will better enable him or her to learn. If a student is determined to have an issue with learning; the school, teacher, and/or parents can call for an evaluation of the child. If formal evaluation determines that a student is having diffulty in learning because of some type of disability then a school system’s IEP process would be put into motion. An IEP is required for any student determined to have a disability. The IEP is a legal document that a school must follow to meet the needs of a child. Unfortunately, an IEP can become a point of friction between parents and schools. Because a school is bound by law to follow the document they might want the least number of modifications possible so they are sure they can meet the strictures of the agreement. However, a parent may be inclined to want as much assistance as possible because of the desire to want to help their child. This situation is best resolved through open dialogue with a careful examination of what is best for the child. All reasonable accommodations should be made for a child with the mindset that the goal is to allow the student with the disability to reach their maximum potential.
Also Known As: Individual Education Program
An IEP does fit the general definition of a contract in the sense that it is an agreement between two parties. However, it is not a contract in that a contract requires some consideration (i.e., payment or required action) by both sides in order to be enforceable, and that element is missing from an IEP. The school has certain requirements that it has to perform, but the student/family do not. Under basic contract law, if either side does not perform some action or payment, then the other side would have a reason to sue for breach of contract. With an IEP, it is easy to see that the school must perform by providing certain services, providing certain teachers, special classes, etc. But there is nothing that the student/family must do, other than just come to school and study. And the school certainly cannot sue for breach of contract if a student doesn’t do his homework. The school cannot even take a student off an IEP for non-performance. They must continue providing the services anyway.
Nevertheless, people do still continue to call it a “contract.”
If the parent does not agree with the terms of the IEP that are proposed, the parent may choose not to sign the IEP. The school must still provide the services that it believes are minimally required, until an agreed IEP can be reached.
Team denied those services as part of the IEP, is exactly what I was talking about in my prior response. In this case, where the parent wants certain services but the Team as a whole does not agree that those services need to be included in the IEP, then you, as the parent, have the right to (a) refuse to sign the IEP and (b) appeal the Team’s decision. That appeal will go to a special ed. appeals board, who will hear arguments from both sides of the matter, and will make a ruling on whether the accommodations you are requesting are appropriate. While that appeal is pending, the school is required to provide whatever minimum services are agreed upon by both sides.
In the end, if the appeals board finds in your favor, then the school would have to provide the services, and may have to provide some compensatory time or money to make up for lost time.