The education system has undergone various changes over the years. Since the Congress passed the Rehabilitation Act and the EAHCA, children with disability have had the opportunity of learning in the least restrictive environments without experiencing discrimination while acquiring appropriate education. Regardless of this, students with disabilities still find it challenging to integrate into the general education program. This aspect has created the need for varied intervention mechanisms in order to help them achieve the desired objectives in light of their peers without disabilities. Individualized Education Program (IEP) has emerged among the best interventions in helping students with disabilities peak up a favorable pace in their quest for education in the general program. Eligible students are evaluated in order to assess their suitability for the program. The needs of the children are clearly outlined and are used as the benchmark for assessing the progress. Team members include special education teacher, general education teacher, parents, an expert like a psychologist, school district representative and the student.
The importance of a parent in the IEP team cannot be overlooked. They know the student better than any other member of the team hence making their contribution to the process quite vital. With this regard, the paper details a report of a parent having a child in an Individualized Education Program that is captured through an interview. The name of the parent is Debra and her son is called Robert. Debra’s son has problems with his social skills, communication skills and also experiences developmental delays in motor skills.
In the interview, Debra reveals that she is a member of the IEP team. She views herself as being involved with different roles since she is part of everything that takes place. However, she considers two roles as being major; those of offering consent and providing relevant information about Robert. She is well suited to provide more information about her son to the other members since she is more informed on this aspect. Debra believes that this has been beneficial since the other professionals have the opportunity of identifying the actual steps to take for the program to be helpful for Robert. On issues to do with consent, Debra asserts that she provided consent before her son was initially integrated into the program. She also provided consent for changes to be made to the program during the first and second years of the IEP. This was meant to ensure that the program suited the progress that Robert was making.
Debra postulates that the IEP team meets once every year. These meetings are meant to review the progress that Robert is making in light of the current program. This is where the need for changing the program is assessed based on Robert’s progress. Apart from the annual meetings, Debra also meets Robert’s special education and general education teachers once or twice every month. She uses these meetings to get updates on how her son is progressing. Through the meetings with the teachers, she is also advised on the steps to take in order to ensure that Robert remains within the desired path of attaining positive results from the program.
She is also comfortable while making contributions to the IEP team. She claims that the other members tend to be supportive hence making her even more comfortable since she is assured that they are working towards actualizing similar goals. Debra says that she feels happy knowing that her child is making positive progress.
Debra admits that the IEP process requires a completion of different forms of paperwork based on various regulations that have been instituted. However, she does not see as if this has been the point of focus. Debra says that other team members are quite interested in knowing more about her son. This is based on the nature of questions that they ask regarding Robert hence showing that their main focus is ensuring that he benefits from the program. She says that she gets a lot of follow-ups from the other members so that she can clarify some of the issues that might not be very clear. This is an indication that the team is focused on helping Robert improve based on his needs.
She is very happy with the current progress since her son has made several gains as a result of the IEP. Robert’s communication skills have improved since he now understands how to use gestures, follow directions and have conversations. When it comes to social skills, Robert has made improvements too since he can now play with his peers and share toys. At the moment, he is keeping friends; something that was not possible initially. On issues to do with motor skills, Robert can now hold things from one point to another without dropping them. As a mother, this progress makes Debra to feel very happy.
Debra does not seem to have any concerns regarding the current process that her son has been subjected to. She is satisfied with the progress that her son is making. The only suggestion that she has, and believes it would improve Individualized Education Program is increasing the frequency of the meetings. Debra thinks that meeting only once every year might be a stumbling block in making necessary adjustments as early as possible. She thinks that this might delay a child’s progress in case a certain program is not working, and the only thing to do is waiting for the next annual meeting in order to make adjustments.
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