Students with disability normally have difficulties coping with their colleagues in the general education program. That is why it has become necessary for various intervention programs to be used in order to help them move at a reasonable pace in acquiring various concepts. Among the interventions that target personal weakness is the Individualized Education Program (IEP). An IEP is a document developed for eligible special education children in public schools. The document tends to outline the needs that the relevant child has, the services that are going to be provided by the school and ways of measuring the progress. The IEP is developed by a team of key school personnel and the child’s parents. Among the school personnel, there can be a regular education teacher, an expert with the ability to interpret evaluation results, special education teacher, a school district representative, the child, and parent.
A parent is deemed as an important member of the IEP team since they have sufficient knowledge of the child’s strengths and struggles. Their consent is also needed for the process to proceed. This aspect resulted to the interview of one parent whose child has various disabilities. The parent’s name is Susan, and the child is called Donald. Donald experiences problems with non-verbal communication and playing with peers. He also experiences developmental delays in language, adaptive skills and motor skills.
Being a member of the IEP team, Susan discloses that her major roles involve being an advocate for her child and providing consent. She says that she is an advocate since she represents the child. No one else in the team knows the child better like the mother. This is because she spends more time with him compared to the teachers and other relevant members. As a mother, she is aware of how her child responds to various situations, so she shares the information with other members. Susan asserts that she has been providing consent for some activities. She recalls that she had to offer consent before the process commenced in the first place. At some point, she also had to give consent for the IEP program to be changed.
Susan postulates that the IEP team meets once a year. During this period, the program is reviewed, and it can be revised if it is necessary. She says that during the second year she had to give consent for some changes to be made based on the progress that was being experienced. In addition to the team meeting once in a year, Susan meets both the special and general education teachers once a month. During these meetings, they discus on the progress and the things that she should be doing in order to help Donald positively.
Susan is comfortable with offering contributions during the meetings. She asserts that the teachers are very supportive, and seem to take an interest in helping her son. She is comfortable contributing to the team since she feels that it is an appropriate strategy for her child to develop in some areas that he has exhibited delays. She has seen some positive progress so far.
She also thinks that the process is focused on her son. This is based on how she has observed other team members during the meetings that they have had. They seem concerned with his situation and are eager to help. The other members tend to ask numerous questions about Donald so that they can understand him better. She also says that the special education teacher initiates follow-ups in case there is something that was not quite clear during the meetings. She admits that there is paperwork involved, but Susan asserts that this is just part of the process. It has not been the main concern with any team member.
Susan has observed some measurable gains with her son since the inception of the IEP. She says that Donald has improved when it comes to playing with his peers. Initially, he was running to the house when his peers were around. Now he plays with them, even though not for a long time. He is there for a short period and then he comes to the house. This is a huge progress since he would not play with them even a little bit in previous encounters. His adaptive skills have improved too. Nowadays, he does not get injured now and then. Somehow he has learned to indulge in his activities while taking care of himself. His motor skills are also better now. He can walk for a longer distance while holding something like a cup without dropping it. Before the commencement of the IEP, this was not possible. “As a parent, I feel so happy because of the positive progress.” Susan said these words with a smile on her face.
There are no concerns on Susan’s side regarding the IEP process. She thinks that everything is working in a positive manner. This is based on the positive progress manifesting in her child. However, she has a suggestion on how to improve the process. Susan thinks that the meetings should be held on a regular basis compared to how it is at the moment. This is because there might be a need to make some adjustments to the program, and this can only be approved upon all the team members meeting. She thinks that meeting once a year is not sufficient.
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