A well thought-out Individualized Education Program (IEP) is worth nothing if the services and supports contained within it are not delivered or if they are not working. Part of being a good advocate for your child is staying informed on what services your child is receiving and what they are supposed to be accomplishing.
Your child’s IEP gives you the tools to monitor this information. The IEP must specify the services your child receives, the location of each service, the frequency (for example, twice a week), and how long each session of treatment will last (for example, 45 minutes each session). Additionally, some Preschool Special Education agencies require therapists to complete and give the family a form that tells the family what the therapist worked on during each session. If you have incorporated the use of a communication notebook in your IEP, the exchanges with your child’s teacher may also provide insight into what services your child receives on a particular day.
The IEP also should describe how and when your child’s progress will be reported to you. Teachers, aides, and other service professionals should be keeping data on your child’s headway towards IEP goals and reporting this information to you on a regular basis, as determined by your child’s IEP. This is called “progress monitoring.” If progress monitoring indicates that your child is not on track to meet his or her IEP goals within one year, request an IEP meeting to review and adjust instruction and supports as needed.
If you ever have concerns about whether or not your child is receiving the services described in the IEP, make a written request for a print-out of dates of service. You can send this request to your child’s teacher, but it is a good idea to also copy the special education director of your district. If it turns out your child has not received services he or she is entitled to, your child may be eligible to receive compensatory (make-up) services.
- How to Be a Good Parent Advocate
- The Importance of Data in Measuring Progress
- Making Things Right: Rights of Recovery in Education Disputes
- Overview of Dispute Resolution Procedures for Families in Preschool and School-Age Special Education Programs