Three Tips for Highlighting and Color-Coding Your Child’s Draft IEP
We suggest that once parents have requested evaluations and draft IEP’ before scheduled school meetings, they read through the documents, then they go through and highlight in various colors any questions they have (strengths/positives; what helps child to learn. Any weaknesses/what might be limiting learning; or any other concerns, etc…) so that you can discuss/re-examine these items during the meeting.
Related: Request Evaluation Reports and Draft IEP’s
Color-coding is an effective way to organize information that you need to know or reference quickly.
Not only are the bright highlighter colors eye-catching, but they can also serve as a form of mental shorthand. Give names and labels to the different color highlighters you use so you know what they stand for.
Three tips for highlighting and color-coding your child’s draft IEP
Tip #1– Be consistent, avoid confusion,
Use the same colors to signify the same information each time.
Create a highlighter color guide or table and keep it with your IEP copies so you can reference it.
Tip #2 – Limit Your Color Selection
Stick with 3 to 4 highlighter colors (maximum) to keep it simple. This will also allow you to remember what each color means.
Think of color-coding like visual cues/road signs to help you navigate your way through the IEP document you’re reading.
The goal of color-coding is to be able to focus your attention and organize the information logically.
Tip #3 – Don’t over color-code
Don’t highlight everything…only the important things. Give names or labels to each color so that they have a specific purpose, and you know what they stand for. Each color should have a specific purpose and help keep your focus as you navigate through the IEP in the right direction.
As Doreen Franklin says:
Don’t go into your IEP meeting blindly!
You are your child’s voice!
Suggested highlighter colors/meaning:
Yellow: For questions and concerns. Things you need to have explained for more clarity. Important parts/information.
Blue: For any weaknesses, deficiencies or what might hinder learning
Pink: For your child’s strengths and positives. What helps your child learn?
Green: For proof of evidence, time, objective, and current data.
More IEP Help
- How can parents prepare for an IEP Meeting? (Part 1)
- Requests Prior to IEP Meetings: Eval Reports and Draft IEPs
- Know Your Rights in the IEP Process: What Do those Procedural Safeguards Really Mean?
- Whether it’s Your First IEP or You’re a Pro: 10 things to Cover at the Meeting
- IEP… I Do’s Building a Viable Home-School Relationship – It’s like a Marriage
- The Politics of Special Education: The Information You Need Right Now
- How to Set Clear Goals and Plan Naturally
- Is the IEP Individualized or Cookie-Cutter?
- Rock Your Next IEP: Tips for a Successful IEP Meeting
- Big Picture of Parent Participation in an IEP Meeting
- Beyond the IEP Team: 6 Tips for Parent Participation at School
- Should My Child Attend the IEP Meeting?
- IEP Meeting Overwhelm? How to Avoid It!
- Calm Your Nerves – Know What To Expect At An IEP Meeting
- The Importance of S.M.A.R.T IEP Goals
- IEP Prep: Using the Mama Bear Strategy
- Where Do I Go for Evaluations