WHAT TO DO WHEN THE IEP STOPS WORKING
The most important sections of the IEP/504 Plan are the services and accommodations. On IEPs, services are on a “service delivery page,” which lists the services, when and where your child will get them, and the qualifications of the service provider. In addition, it’s also important to understand your child’s IEP/504 accommodations. Accommodations allow your child to access the curriculum and may include assistive technology or preferential seating, to name a few.
Own Your Role as Parent
As a parent, you are essential to the IEP/504 team.
While the school is not required to implement every request, they are required to consider your input.
Become an active team member by asking questions and really listening to the answers.
If you’re nervous about speaking up, type up your concerns ahead of time and distribute them at the start of the meeting. If you still feel ignored, send a follow-up letter with any remaining requests, questions, or suggestions.
“No matter what accommodations I ask for, the school says no. Sometimes I’m told what I’m asking for violates school policy. Other times the school says I don’t understand my child’s needs. How do I respond?”
The Solution: Learn the Law
Begin by explaining the reason for your request.
Use examples and written documentation to show that this is something your child needs, not just something you want.
The law requires the school to meet your child’s needs, but it does not require them to provide the ideal education. If you’re told that your request violates policy, politely ask for a written copy of that policy. Review it and see if there is a reason why.
“Most of the accommodations and goals in my child’s IEP seem vague or unclear, like ‘frequent reminders to stay on task’ — with no indication of how frequent or what these reminders will entail. Is this normal?”
The Solution: Measurable Goals
IEPs and 504 plans should contain goals that are measurable and attainable.
Hold teachers accountable by addressing your concerns about the vague goals as early as possible, and schedule regular meetings to track your child’s progress. In most cases, any goal that’s in an IEP should be accomplished within a school year.
If it’s too vague, ask that the goal be rewritten in more relevant language.