View Full Version : How specific is your child's IEP?

01-23-2013, 08:06 PM
We had an IEP meeting for DS today. He was recently diagnosed with Aspergers. He is also considered intellectually gifted and has a non-verbal learning disability.
They included all the accommodations I was expecting in the IEP. They basically compiled the recommendations from all the various assessments (psycho-ed, dev ped and shadow's observations). We've had several preliminary meetings so there wasn't really anything new to me in it. The only difference was that we were meeting with the english teacher (meeting with hebrew teacher is next week) who will be implementing many of the items.

I guess I was just expecting more specific items. It's hard to give a good brief example but the best I can think of is that the IEP says to use a system of reward tokens. I was hoping to hear the proposed system the teacher will use.

Another example is that they will use alternate methods to test his understanding of topics because handwriting is difficult for him. Some suggestions were oral, through art, etc... I had hoped that they would spell out the specific methods they thought the teacher should use or which to use in the different subject areas.

I'm a very concrete thinker and like to see the whole picture in front of me, but maybe I'm just expecting too much and a more generic IEP is how they are typically done.

I'm not terribly fussed about it at this point because we hired a shadow for him and she is starting Monday. She will help the teachers implement many of the accommodations relating to his ASD. I know that I will get daily feedback from her on what the teachers are and aren't doing and she will work with the teachers on suggesting. Plus, we have another follow-up meeting in 2 weeks to make any necessary changes after the shadow has started working with him.

But, the shadow is a temporary measure and the IEP will likely be there for most of his school days so I want to know going forward, what are reasonable expectations from an IEP? How specific are they or does it really depend?

01-23-2013, 08:17 PM
I believe the point of not making the IEP too specific is so that the teachers can try different methods. Like for the reward tokens, they may try one method but if it doesn't work they can try something different. If the IEP was so specific, then you would constantly be making changes to the IEP. The recommendations on your IEP sound okay to me.

01-23-2013, 08:18 PM
Those sound like normal accommodations you would see in an IEP. Unless there is one tried and true way to teach him it leaves room to modify and tweak to his needs. If they gave a specific model of reward tokens and t didn't work you'd have to meet again to change the IEP. However I would assume the teacher ahold be able to give you specifics about how she plans to implement his IEP.

01-23-2013, 08:20 PM
The IEP should address the goals and the benchmarks to reach them. But usually the IEP does not address specific strategies (unless there is a very specific need, such as an audio device or something) because often strategies will need to change to achieve the goal. My son also has Asperger's, and his best teachers have been those who "switch it up" on him. He tends to learn how to manipulate their systems, so having a specific strategy defined in his IEP would backfire.

However, if you want specific strategies, you certainly have the right to request that. You are in charge when it comes to the IEP.

IMO one of the most important aspects of the IEP is to protect the child. If there is a problem, it is important to have that issue covered by the IEP so that it does not escalate. For example, if writing is a problem for your son, you will want to make sure the IEP calls for accommodations, such as shorter assignments and/or extra time and/or alternative means of submitting work. That way no teacher can decide to be a stickler about deadlines or paper length and refuse to allow your son to modify as necessary. But for things such as behavior modification, a little more fluidity can be helpful so that the teacher can access a whole "bag of tricks" to find systems that work for your child.

Sorry if I was too convoluted. We have our triennial tomorrow, but I still get flummoxed by IEP meetings. It is so difficult to know what is right for our children.

01-25-2013, 12:09 PM
Thanks everyone for your insights. It does make sense to keep the IEP general. It's just a bit scary that so much rests on the teachers shoulders. I shudder to think what could happen if he gets a teacher that just doesn't know how to implement these things well. His english teacher seemed open to everything discussed at the meeting and seemed thrilled about the shadow. She said that she thinks he will really start to thrive much more.

Fortunately the school is very willing to make whatever accommodations are necessary. Because it is a small religious-based school, they really try as much as possible to keep the kids from the community within the school. They have told me numerous times that they really want him to stay within the school.

Meeting with the hebrew teacher is next week. She is a bit more rigid in her teaching style and I expect that meeting might be more frustrating. I have requested to have the head of judaic studies at the meeting plus I've been doing my own independent reserarch on the curriculm and way to modify it. BIL is a principal at a large Jewish Day School in the US and he has been a huge help with some out of the box ideas and putting me in touch with some very knowledgable people. Hopefully if I go into that meeting prepared with good backup for my ideas, the teacher will be more receptive to the changes I am suggesting. It's nothing radical, just not the standard "fill-in-the-workbook" style which this teacher seems to enjoy.

It is so difficult to know what is right for our children.

This is so true. Plus, I have now realized that I need to take charge and do my own reasearch into what I think is best for my child and advocate for him rather than relying on all the professionals because everyone has a different opinion. Scary because I'm an accountant, not a Dr or an educator but I know my own child best.