If you are the parent of a special education student, you understand how difficult it can be to secure the support your child requires in order to succeed in the classroom. As a parent, you are your child’s most important advocate, and your knowledge about your child’s educational rights in California can help you fight for the full amount of support they need. This includes ensuring their Individualized Education Program (IEP) is appropriate.
An IEP is a written plan for a special education student that contains details regarding the types of supports they need in school. It outlines appropriate accommodations, steps the teacher will take during instruction and other details that are important for your child. It is important that you know what should be in an IEP and how you can ensure it truly meets your child’s needs.
The details of an IEP
One of the most critical aspects of any IEP is the outlining of measurable goals. These goals are determined based on the deficits of the student and many other factors. The goals then determine the specific strategy by which the school and instructors will help the student reach those objectives. The goals should be measurable, fair and reasonable according to the individual student. Every IEP is different, but most should contain the following:
- Measurable annual goals
- Present academic levels and functional performance
- Description of how the goals will be measured
- Details of the special education services the student will receive
- Modifications or support the child will receive in the classroom
- Extent to which the child will be with regular education students
- Individual accommodations that will be necessary
You have the right to know what is in your child’s IEP, as well as the right to ask questions, help develop the IEP and seek an understanding of all the terms included.
Help for parent advocates
It can be complicated advocating for the rights and interests of a special education student. If you are navigating the process of ensuring that your child’s IEP is appropriate, you may benefit from first seeking an understanding of your child’s rights and what you can do to protect them. It may be necessary for a California parent to take legal action in an effort to ensure their child has a full and fair educational experience.