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New Guide Offers Road Map To IEP Process


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A new guide released Tuesday provides parents with a step-by-step look at how to obtain special education services from their school district.

The 26-page download from Autism Speaks offers a broad overview of the legal rights of parents and students with disabilities and walks through the process of forming an individualized education program or IEP.

The guide was prepared by attorneys at Goodwin Procter for the autism advocacy group, but is written in layman’s terms, using bullet points and flow charts for clarity.

“The IEP process can be daunting, overwhelming and highly frustrating for parents who are trying to ensure their child is getting the appropriate educational opportunities,” said Lisa Goring, vice president of family services at Autism Speaks. “We hope this guide will give families an effective road map that prepares them to make informed decisions and advocate for their child as effectively as possible.”

Though produced by Autism Speaks, most of the information included in the guide is applicable to all students that qualify for special education, irrespective of their diagnosis.

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Comments (5 Responses)

  1. hdemic says:

    Do we still not understand that the schools just will not “do it”. Its not about money, nor economics, not time, nor the language. The schools just will not “do it”. Our schools across the nation are set up in factory, sit down, lecture, and go home and do your homework style. It used to be the average joe kid could do ok with this. The average joe kid is way passed this. The majority of kids are outside of the fish bowel. The school system is not a person but an organization of tradition who spend more time and money on how not to “do it” than moving on. This includes the “no child left behind” to reading a book with a switch on computer to a cerebral palsy child. Its not about navigating special ed or appropiate education. The schools just won’t “do it”. Everything has to be changed from ground up. Its not about bad teachers or good teachers. Its about a big monster system that’s going to take alot to change.
    mom that has been forced into homeschool in Michigan.

  2. disabilitiesrightsadvocate says:

    I am not sure about the other comment made by hdemic, because I feel that this guide will help educate the parents of a child with a disability on the IEP process which is daunting and confusing to say the least. Many parents are unaware of their rights and or the procedures involved in the IEP process, so if they were better equiped with the knowledge that is needed, they would undoubtedly be able to participate and advocate for their child. I do however agree with the idea that the education must change from the ground up and allow students to receive a tailored education based on individuals needs, whether they do or do not have a disability.

  3. formychild says:

    I have a question for mom who was forced into homeschool. Why did you give up fighting for your childs rights? I know how hard it is to get the services your child needs in the School System. I live in a town of 8,000 people and my son is Albino & Legally Blind. I fought the city because they said he coulnt wear a shirt to swim in the public pool. They didn’t accept the note from his Dr. stating that he had to wear a shirt due to the albinism, they told me that it was a state rule that you can’t wear a shirt while swimming and I nailed them on both. The state wasn’t real impressed either as there is no rule that you can’t where a shirt while swimming. My son can now swim in the public pool w/ a shirt on and go down the slide with his goggles on. The pool also put up a sign indicating that if you have special needs, call this number & hey will get assistance for the pool. I did that because I fought for my childs rights.
    I’ve dealt with no’s from the school system since my son was 4 months old. He’ll be 6 Monday. Everytime I got told no, I did more research, brougt in more people to back me up and kept fighting for my chimes Education.
    I’ve been told that maybe I should switch schools or home school my son if I don’t like the school he goes to. My response is always the same. What is changing schools or home schooling him going to do other then make the school happy because they don’t have to do something. Im trying to make it so the school has to do what the law says they have to do and in the process, im paving a way for the next child who goes in with a visual impairment.
    It hasn’t been easy and there are times when I’ve felt like giving up. Then I look at my little boy and I keep fighting because he’s worth fighting for.
    My sons IEP still doesn’t get followed completely. He started school 3 weeks ago and I’ve called the school or been at the school just as much as he has. They’re finally starting to get that im not going away and that im not going to back off until they do what’s right.
    I’ve wanted braille for my son since I found out that he’s legally blind. I got told large print, I said no, ill agree to large print & braille being taught together and that’s what I got. Now, the school is finally seeing how much my son struggles and on October 3, were having a meeting to switch him to just braille.
    It took long enough, but hey, at least I’ve finally won! And I won because im a constant thorn in their sides who wont go away. I told the school that if they wanted a parent who was just going to sit back & let them do whatever they wanted in the ways of teaching then they could keep looking because im parent that parent.
    IEPs are tricky. I go to the meetings and the school already has the IEP typed out. Which by law they can’t do. There’s a line that says you have to sign orbit can’t be changed. I tell them that I don’t have to sin anything except the IEP and ill do that when I get the IEP. And when I get the IEP, I go through it with an FBI fine tooth comb and when I get done, I hand it back and say fix it. Last year I sent it back so many times that it wasn’t signed by Christmas break and they had me go in and sit with the TVI while she changed it so I could make sure everyting got put in. Then I still didn’t sign because my husband hadn’t read it and he may have caught something I missed.
    I do this because the school has a way of getting parents to sign before they be a final copy & what most parents don’t realize is that they do it so they don’t have to change anything. The school also doesn’t let parents know that they can request meetings anytime. Doesn’t mean the school has to agree to it, but it is the parents rights.
    The school tape records all of the IEP meetings. Im going to hit them up for a copy of those because its my right to have them.
    What im trying to get at, is don’t ever give up the fight for your childs education. Its tiring, its frustrating, its hard. But its the most important thing you can do for your child.
    Mom who was forced to homeschool, your right, change does start from the ground up. But change also starts with parents. If we aren’t willing to fight for our kids, then we can’t expect anybody else to either and we can’t expect change to start if we aren’t willing to start the change.

  4. hdemic says:

    In response formychild, hope you read this. Thank you for your strength. Emily is 17 now. Used to go to school every day in another state. This particular area just didn’t want to feed her, read to her, or put her on the toilet. They wanted everybody G-tube, in a bean bag, and no reason to read to. and on and on. I just got tired. And scared that they would hurt her. I need you to tell me to keep going. I’m single with her and work. Takes up part of my time. Yes I need to move. I have cried alot because I have felt so guilty about moving here and I tend to lash out.I love your strength. Keep going. Thank you. Post alot. It helps.To disability people again the schools spend more time on how to get out of it than just figuring out a solution.
    hdemic and Emily

  5. psychomomxs4 says:

    We don’t need a new Guide. The whole idea insults my intelligence. I know my rights. I know how the “Process Works”. What we need is for our school systems to do what they are mandated to do. In 2003, I sent a letter to my local school board identifying my child, along with his teacher’s and my concerns. I asked for an IEP study team to evaluate him. It took them 5 years! I said five years, to act upon my letter. I stayed persistent the whole time. However, until my child was totally failing, the school system didn’t see a need to do the study team or an IEP. We sought out private testing and other professional help for our son. However, the school system wouldn’t accept the findings. Last week at my sons IEP because his FCAT score were so high the school system finally gave him appropriate accommodations. He is a 9th grader who is enrolled in several senior classes. My husband and I feel that our son is as far as he is because of us, our resolve to get him the intervention that he needed. Our son has Asperger’s Disorder.

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