Friday, April 10, 2015
I is for IEP
IEP. Individualized Education Program. Children with any type of disability must have an IEP in place. The IEP list goals, may have accommodations to help the student if necessary, and lists any services needed such as speech or occupational therapy. Michael and David's early IEP's had accommodations for both occupational and speech therapy. Goals were set for academic achievements.
I have heard nightmares from other parents who had to fight to get an IEP in place and basically fought every year when re-evaluations took place. I can't even relate to them. We have been so so lucky in this aspect of the educational process. I have always been active in my children's school, one of the perks of being a stay-at-home mom. During their time in elementary school, I was a PTO member and also helped out during the school day. The PTO even had a small office in the school. I was a chaperone on all their school field trips and met quite a few of my sons' classmates. Now, in their middle school, I work a day a week volunteering in the library. Twice a year, I work a full-time week helping the librarian with the Scholastic book fair. I have a friendly relationship with all their teachers which allows me to nip any problems in the bud. The boys love school and learning, and they are polite and considerate people (at least in school they are). In turn, the teachers all love them. I have been told on more than one occasion that they are a teacher's dream and they (teachers) wished all their students were like David and Michael. So when IEP times roll around, I have had nothing but cooperation and assistance for my sons.
David's fourth grade evaluation found him meeting all his academic goals. He did not need speech therapy and no longer needed occupational therapy. His NECAP tests revealed almost a perfect score, he only got 3 answers wrong. He was at the top of his class. While I was worried about David losing his IEP, his team just could not justify leaving it in place and quite frankly neither could I.
Michael is now due for his re-evaluation which includes his more comprehensive 3 year review. There is a possibility that his team as well may want to eliminate the IEP. We'll see how that plays out in the few weeks as I am not sure all his goals have been met and in all honesty, I believe his IEP should be kept in place for next year.
I have mixed emotions about losing the IEP's. I feel uncomfortable with the thought of losing that IEP and some of the extra supports that I know are benefitting Michael. He has extra teacher support which I know is helping him meet his academic goals. So while he meets his goals with the added support, what will happen if the extra support is taken away? There are also social issues that remain and even to this date, Michael's speech is still a little garbled although he can be understood. In addition, once the IEP is taken away, it is nearly impossible to get it back should it become necessary in the future.
The removal of David's IEP was extremely positive and also a reflection on his academic success. He doesn't have as many needs as Michael and the loss of the IEP three years ago has not had any negative repercussions in David's middle school career. He is still excelling both in the standardized tests and in all his classes in school. If Michael's IEP is removed, it would also be a credit to his academic success, but I feel eliminating it this year may be premature. Michael tests well and is doing well in his classes, but I believe part of that to be because of the extra concessions and not in spite of them. I do concede that if it is not removed this year, I'm sure it will only be a short matter of time before his IEP is eliminated.
So for now we will celebrate the school successes and see what happens with Michael's IEP later this month.