Is the IEP Individualized or Cookie-Cutter?
Is the IEP individualized or cookie-cutter?
I am sure I am not alone. You are sitting at the IEP meeting and wondering if your child’s IEP is “individualized” as it is supposed to be, or is it a cookie cutter IEP? Be honest ….I have often speculated who has written the IEP that you and the Team are discussing and is this how it is supposed to look?
From the FL DOE publication, A Parent’s Introduction to Exceptional Student Education in Florida, 2012, the publication states “An IEP is a written plan that tells you, your child, the teachers, and other school staff which ESE services the school will provide to your child.” Therefore, your child’s IEP is specific to YOUR child only and should be individualized. The IEP should contain your child’s strengths & weaknesses, his/her present levels (from either recent evaluations/ re-evaluations or the standardized tests and work product during the year), and parent input on your child for their education. Since all of these are particular to your child, this part of the IEP will be individualized.
Goals should be written specifically for your child so that your child will meet the state standards; benchmarks may be written as the “stepping stones” toward meeting those goals. You may want to ensure that you, as parents, clearly understand your child’s present level so that your child will be working toward the goals which should line up to the state standards. Do not feel anxious or apprehensive about asking specifics about your child and where he/she is; I cannot stress this enough! To learn your child’s present level if it is not listed in the IEP, you could ask for a percentage or specifics, for example; Jennifer is able to correctly sound out 20 out of 26 letters; Patty does not know the sounds of the following letters – c, k, s, m, n. and z (this can also indicate what you can reinforce/work on at home).
Goals should be written specifically (for your child so that your child will meet the state standards; benchmarks may be written as the “stepping J stones” toward meeting those goals.
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