The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates that every child who receives special education services must have an Individualized Education Program (IEP). Your child’s IEP is a legally binding document that acknowledges his or her unique challenges and needs and establishes measurable goals to facilitate academic and functional progress. Since your child’s needs are likely to evolve over time, it stands to reason that IEP changes are also necessary.
When to Adjust an IEP
Parents of children with an IEP attend annual reviews with the IEP team. The IEP team typically includes the special education teacher, psychologist, district representative and other professionals, along with the parents. These IEP team members are responsible for amending an IEP annually to reflect the child’s changing needs. However, parents can request amendments any time they feel these changes are necessary.
Parents may need to adjust IEP needs if the child isn't making progress toward the IEP goals or if the child has met all of the goals and requires new ones. IEP changes may also be necessary if new information is available about the child. For example, a student who's been receiving services for a learning disability may later be diagnosed with ADHD and require additional services or modifications. Another reason to adjust IEP needs is if one of the child’s providers suggests it is necessary. For example, a speech-language pathologist (SLP) might recommend a new modification to the classroom environment to support a child with dyslexia.
Working Collaboratively with the School
Parents and the IEP team must both agree on the proposed amendment before implementing the IEP changes. You can propose an amendment to your child’s IEP by submitting a written request to the school or IEP team. It's more likely that the IEP team will agree to the changes and amend the IEP if you thoroughly explain the reasons for the proposed amendment and how it would help your child progress. For example, if the school’s speech therapist informs you that your child might make better progress with three sessions per week instead of two, you should provide the specific details of this conversation in your written request.
If the school district resists the proposed amendment, parents have the right to request a formal IEP meeting at any time during the year, regardless of whether it’s time for the annual review. This doesn't mean that the meeting has to be contentious, however. Parents can preserve the collaborative spirit of the meeting by keeping the focus on the child’s best interests. Calling in a specialist or a special education advocate may help the district representatives understand why the proposed amendment would serve the child’s needs.
No More IEP!
If your child has learning and/or behavioral problems, we invite you to consider the Brain Balance Program. After we complete a comprehensive assessment of your child, we create a program tailored specifically to your child’s unique needs. Each child’s program includes sensory motor training and stimulation and academic activity plans coupled with easy-to-follow dietary guidelines. Our center staff will even support you during your IEP meetings to ensure you're receiving the school support you need and also help you to determine when an IEP is no longer necessary.
To schedule an assessment for your child, or to learn more about how the Brain Balance Program can help, contact us online or find a center near you.