15 RESOURCES FOR THOSE WHO SUPPORT A STUDENT WITH AN IEP
Whether you are a teacher, parent, student, or administrator if you sit at the IEP table, you can never have enough resources. Our educational journey doesn't stop - especially when the needs of who we support change.
Depending on time, position, and enjoyment there are a variety of tools we can interact with to learn more, reflect on our current practices, and view things from different perspectives.
Below are 15 resources useful for anyone who works with someone with an IEP.
1. Special Education Action Council - There are a variety of names for the same program, and they are popping up across the country. These are typically school district-based organizations. They can hold meetings, advocate and advise on special education issues. Councils generally are composed of parents and teachers passionate about improving special education. Ask your case manager or special education department about information for your local council.
2. The Arc - The Arc national is a national organization. Its mission is to support families and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. While they focus on community inclusion, they also work to provide information, advocacy, and skill training.
3. Center for Parent Information & Resources - CPIR is her to support families supporting children with disabilities. They are funded by the Office of Special Education Services of the Department of Education. They provide resources and services to families. You can sign up for newsletters, parent training, and more!
4. LDFRA - The Learning Disability Resources Foundation Action provides a variety of resources. Their tools focus on creating positive outcomes for those with learning disabilities. While their main focus is Learning Disability (LD), Dyslexia, and ADHD, the resources and blogs they create are beneficial to all.
5. "Talking to Your Child About Their Disability" - While this is an article rather than a website, this is something that I am passionate about. I've worked with students at various levels who were aware of their disabilities and IEP. I have also worked with students in more-restrictive programs who were unaware of what special education even is. All students benefit from learning this about themselves. The more we discuss it, reduces the stigma around it. My husband's mother made him aware at a young age and that has helped tremendously throughout his life after high school. This article provides tips and points for approaching this conversation.
All About IEPs is a book written by Peter and Pamela Wright and Sandra Webb O'Connor. Peter Wright is known for his landmark win in the Supreme Court. His case had a positive impact for all students with educational disabilities. This book is divided into chapter topics, and within chapters as "Frequently Asked Questions". All About IEPs is easy to read and understand for parents and educators. The book is that is based on the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the standard special education law, and your rights! Each county may do things a little different, but they must (at a minimum) meet IDEA law.
This book is another easy read from the parent's and professionals' perspectives. This book highlights the importance of partnership and collaboration between team members. They use real stories and provide examples, and useful information. A great read for parents, teachers, case managers, and administrators!
This book is based on the phrase "We don't know what we don't know." Special Education is not easy. Figuring out what to look for and what to ask for is not always obvious. This book provides clear language on your rights and law and ensures the team is following the law. While focused on parents, this is a great read for educators too!
Special Education Inner Circle
From the Master IEP Coach, Catherine Whitcher, her podcast focuses on preparing students and families for the future. What I love most about her podcast is they are less than 30 minutes and you end listening with something actionable.
The Parent IEP Lab
The Parent IEP Lab is another easy listen with episodes that are less than 30 minutes. Beth provides insights from all sides of special education to help you advocate. Your advocacy leads to positive outcomes for your child. Again, you walk away feeling like you can do something positive for the educational plan of your child.
Don't IEP Alone
Lisa is a parent of a child with educational disabilities and an advocate. She wants to support as many families as she can. She has extensive experience and is thorough in helping parents understand the IEP Process. Her episodes are longer, but still a great listen.
Inclusive Education Project
This podcast is hosted by Special Education and Civil Rights attorneys, Amanda Selogie and Vickie Brett. Their lens is broader, looking at community inclusion as well as education. They touch on a variety of topics that help us think bigger for our kids. Episodes vary in length, but are typically less than 45 minutes!
Images retrieved from podcasts.apple.com
As someone supporting a child with an Individualized Education Plan, a key to engagement is organization. You get extensive paperwork in this field! Knowing what documents you receive and keeping them together helps you advocate for what is needed. If you like to receive paper copies of documents, print my Family IEP Binder Organization Resource here. In this resource you are provided the following:
See What's Inside!
Yearly calendar to document meeting dates, data reports, and other important dates
"Notes" Page for you to record any questions or thoughts you have about your child's IEP
5 Section Dividers
IEP and Consent - This is for the most recent IEP and any signed consent you are providing
Meeting Minutes - In this section, you will store the detailed meeting report. This describes all proposals, rejections, and decisions by the IEP team. Also included should be the participant page, and signed receipts for documents(not all counties do this).
Progress Reports - You should be receiving progress reports about your child's progress toward their IEP goals and objectives. The frequency of receiving progress reports depends on the team's decision, but should at least happen quarterly.
Evaluations and Assessments - To qualify for special education services, assessments and evaluations must be completed. The reports should be kept as they are required to be reviewed every three years to determine the need for updated assessments. If you reread them before the re-evaluation planning meeting, you can compare the previous assessments to what you see in your child now.
Procedural Safeguards - Handbooks, pamphlets, rights and guides should be held onto and kept with your IEP documents just so you know where they are! You will be provided a new copy each year.
Previous Years - It is always good to keep at least the last 5 years IEPs, Meeting Report, and Progress Reports. This way you can always go back and look to make sure things are progressing!
PARENTAL RIGHTS HANDBOOK
Each state will have its own version of a parental rights handbook, but IDEA requires the following:
The right to participate
The right to invite others
The right to share the IEP with others
The right to review documents at any time
The right to prior written notice
The right to an independent evaluation
The right to dispute
The right to final say
Download Maryland's Parental Rights Handbook Here:
To find your state's handbook Google: your state+special education parental rights
UNDERSTANDING THE IEP PROCESS
This infographic provides information on the IEP process for parents. Download a printable copy here!