If you’re concerned that your child’s IEP isn’t helping your child make enough progress in school, there are steps you can take and resources available for parents to help work through the problems. Your child has rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) which is set in place to help the child and their parents if the IEP fails to enhance the child’s education.
What You Can Do If Your Child’s IEP Isn’t Working
The IEP is designed to identify areas where your child is struggling and goals are put in place to strengthen those skills. Most IEPs have 10 – 12 goals that are decided upon by the IEP team. The parents are part of the IEP team and have the responsibility to give input about their child’s program when the goals are written. When the IEP plan document is completed, the parents sign the document indicating that they are in agreement with the plan that has just been completed.
When you begin to think that the goals are not being met or that your child has passed the goals that were written, you can request an IEP team meeting to discuss your concerns.
Request An IEP Meeting To Discuss Goals
When you are concerned that the skills identified in the IEP are not improving, request an IEP meeting as soon as possible to discuss your child’s goals, what progress is being made in class, and the specific types of assistance the school is providing to help reach those goals. Look at the expected progress on the IEP and compare that to your child’s actual progress to determine how much your child has achieved.
The job of the IEP team is to assure that your child is making progress toward the goals that you agreed upon. A triennial review is scheduled every three years to retest your child and new goals are set in place based on that testing. The IEP team meets yearly to make the yearly goals for your child, and you are allowed to request a meeting anytime throughout each year. The testing during the triennial review is used to evaluate your child’s skill level and set what is called a ‘baseline’ for your child’s current ability level for each area of the IEP. This becomes the ‘starting point’ for your child’s education plan for each area of weakness identified in the IEP. The baselines for each area are used to set the yearly goals that your child will be working toward achieving with the IEP teachers.
When the goals are set, be sure to pay close attention to what the school determines your child’s baseline is because the baseline is used to set the goals your child will be expected to achieve. It is critical that the baseline for the goals is correct so your child can make adequate progress throughout the year. The baseline determines the goals that are set and the goals determine the services that will be provided for your child. If the baseline isn’t accurate, then the goals won’t be accurate and the services may not meet your child’s actual needs.
Make an Appointment with the District Psychologist
One way to learn more about how to improve your child’s learning difficulties is to schedule an appointment with the school district psychologist who performed the testing for your child’s triennial review. The testing that was done at that time evaluated the processing skills, social skills, and academic skills to provide a well-rounded picture of your child’s abilities.
Before your appointment, review the test results and make a list of questions to ask the psychologist about the different tests and how they can provide information about how your child is learning and what kinds of goals are appropriate based on your child’s abilities.
The testing that is provided by the school psychologist can give you valuable information about the processing weaknesses that are part of the cause of your child’s learning difficulties.
Remember, the IEP is designed to help your child learn the academic subjects that are taught in school. While some IEPs also include speech and language goals, social skills goals, and occupational therapy services in your child’s plan, the IEP is not designed to improve the causes of your child’s learning struggles.
Reach Out To The Local PTI OR CAC
There are a number of local resources available for parents to reach out to when seeking additional help for their child’s IEP, like the Parent Training and Information Center (PTI) or the Community Advisory Committee (CAC).
PTIs are part of the IDEA law to provide resources for parents about the state’s special education policies, processes, and steps to take when there’s a disagreement with the school. The PTI Center will be able to help you understand and decide on the best options for moving forward and can provide information about the possibilities for mediation, due process complaints and hearings, and other opportunities for you to consider.
Plan to attend a local special education CAC meeting if your school district has one. CAC meetings are open to everyone in the community and offer an opportunity to learn more about the IEP process in your district. They also provide resources for IEP parent support should the IEP fail to help their child. The district website may have this information available.
Consider Getting Another Evaluation
Another option you can take if your child’s IEP isn’t working is to request an Independent Educational Evaluation. The Independent Educational Evaluation (IEE) will be performed by someone who isn’t a part of your child’s school district and the testing is free of charge. The results from the IEE will be presented to the IEP team and used as part of the process to determine the baseline, goals, and services that will be set in place for your child.
Hardy Brain Training also offers evaluations to identify the underlying areas where your child is struggling. We do an extensive evaluation to pinpoint the underlying causes of specific learning difficulties and then develop a personalized learning program that you can use alongside the goals set in place by the IEP or IEE.
Hardy Brain Training Can Help If Your Child’s IEP Isn’t Enough
The goal of the IEP is not to correct the causes of your child’s learning struggles, but rather to create a plan that is designed to help improve learning academic subjects, In some cases, the goals designed by the IEP are not enough to make the kinds of permanent improvements in your child’s learning that you are seeking.
Hardy Brain Training works with you, your child’s school, and your child’s special education advocate to create a learning program that enhances your child’s IEP goals while simultaneously improving cognitive and processing skills to build a strong learning foundation. We provide clear, actionable steps that you and your child can take together to help build permanent lifetime success.
Contact us today to learn more about whetherHardy Brain Training could be a good fit for you and your child. We offer a free online diagnostic quiz to help identify the key areas where your child may be struggling so you can see if we might be able to help.