3 Important IEP Conversations


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Every week our Master IEP Coach® community gathers to discuss wins, worries, and struggles in our Special Education system. This week on the Special Education Inner Circle podcast I'm sharing 3 conversations and solutions that you can use at your IEP table.

  1. The Difference Between a Compliant IEP and a Best Fit IEP
  • Prioritizing the parent's input and concerns in the IEP process is key to reducing conflict and seeing long-term meaningful outcomes for a child.
  • While a legally complete document is necessary, a truly effective IEP is one that not only meets legal requirements but also takes into account what the whole child needs now and in the future.
  • Teachers, parents, and other professionals involved in the IEP process can collaboratively create a plan that is the "best fit" for the child by getting focused on the "parent educational concerns" section of the IEP.
  1. Moving Beyond Meetings to Save Time and Resources
  • We need to acknowledge our current climate of staff shortages and overwhelm in schools. 
  • We need to move beyond the traditional "meeting after meeting" approach to IEP planning.
  • With the help of technology and other tools, educators and parents can work together to create and implement strategies to move a child's education forward without always waiting for the next meeting.
  1. Data-Driven Decisions for Special Education Placement
  • Denying a child access to a placement based on opinions vs data is not okay.
  • The Least Restrictive Environment is not always in general education.
  • Making assumptions about where a child should receive services based on their disability and not data, can cause extreme conflict.

Listen to the full episode using the links above. Stay tuned to the end to hear how you can become a Master IEP Coach® and join us for our weekly Special Education strategy sessions!

Episode Notes:  

  • (01:00) In the Master IEP Coach® community, consisting of parents, teachers, admins, and therapists, conversations are being had about creating positive, collaborative ways to build better IEPs for children. While compliance is necessary in IEPs, the sweet spot lies in making sure that the parent input section is not only compliant but also a true driver for the child's needs. This means prioritizing the concerns of parents, who will be with their child throughout their school career and beyond. By doing so, we can create IEPs that are not just compliant, but the best fit for the child, preparing them for further education, employment, and independent living.

  • (03:53) Although compliance and a legally fit document is essential, we also need efficient and effective ways to build IEPs without relying on countless meetings. With all the tech tools we have, waiting for the next meeting is not always necessary. Always ask yourself (and others!) is a meeting really needed for this?

  • (06:46) Many school systems still rely on an outdated method of placement for children with individualized education programs (IEPs). They determine where a child should receive services based solely on the level of support they require, rather than considering data to determine the most appropriate environment. This method can lead to children being placed in classrooms that do not meet their needs or restrict their potential. For example, a child transitioning from preschool to kindergarten may be recommended for a self-contained classroom, despite the parents' desire to try general education with supports. It's crucial to gather and analyze data before making a decision on placement.

Links Mentioned In This Episode:

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