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The purpose of an IEP is to:
1) set reasonable learning goals for the child or student,
2) specifically state the services that the school district will provide to the student. IEPs should be personalized to meet a student's unique needs. IEPs are governed by the Federal Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), and the IEP document is legally binding – meaning the school district or learning center must provide the services written in it.
An IEP team will consist of school personnel, the child’s parent/s or guardians and most likely an AEA representative. The IEP team will meet to review the needs of the student and develop a plan of action to address these needs. If a request for IEP evaluation or services has been made, there is a very strict protocol that should be adhered to by the school system, and parents have specific rights under state and federal law. Parents should take steps to be informed about this process, and their rights.
IEP goals should be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely. IEP's should outline services and accommodations that will be provided for the student, and each goal of the IEP should clearly state exactly what achievements are expected of the student and a reasonable timeline to accomplish them with the aforementioned services and accommodations in place. If a child does not make significant progress toward these IEP goals, parents should request a change in the kind of instruction being provided.
Because school districts receive some level of funding for IEP plans, the plans and subsequent progress under the plan are very closely monitored by districts, and regional representatives.
For many parents, IEP and 504 meetings are very intimidating, and can be unenjoyable undertakings. It is important that you have a good understanding of your rights and the rights of the school system. True Potential Education can help guide you through, and prepare you for this process with our advocacy services. Consultations, review of documents, and on-site advocacy services are available to help you navigate the special education system and processes.
Section 504 of the federal Rehabilitation Act specifies that no one with a disability can be excluded from federally funded programs or activities, including education, hence the name "504 plan". Under this law, a disability is defined as “a physical or mental impairment which substantially limits one or more major life activities.” Specific Learning Disabilities are listed as an example of such an impairment, and learning is listed as an example of a major life activity. In education, a 504 plan is a written document that states the specific accommodations that will be given to a student. Accommodations are changes and adjustments made to give students with disabilities the chance to perform at the same level as their peers.
Dyslexic students should be eligible for 504 plans. This is because “learning” is listed as a major life activity in the federal Rehabilitation Act, and dyslexia is an impairment that clearly limits learning. Policies and procedures can vary greatly across school districts in regards to 504 plan creation and implementation. Many districts have manuals or policies that are published either on the school website, or in print that can be referred to for information on how that specific district handles 504 plan processes. It is important to note that a 504 plan cannot be denied because a student is not discrepant enough from his or her peers to indicate need. This practice is referred to as "discrepancy law" and is was deemed illegal by the U.S office of Civil Rights.
A school district will receive no funding, state or federal support for a 504 plan. This is important to keep in mind when requesting 504 services. If what is requested is a financial burden on the school district, it may be met with resistance.
7755 Office Plaza Drive N. Suite 105
West Des Moines, Iowa 50266