As Back to School is just around the corner for most, some even started already!, the topic of IEP may be creeping into your mind or conversations. To start, what is an IEP?
An IEP is an individualized education plan for YOUR child-each child first has to be tested and qualify for a disability according to state standards. Then the child has to also qualify by state standards for needing special education . If they do, a team of parents and school staff will create a plan for the child. Many people think that there is a negative stigma attached to an IEP and often turn it down out of pride. Others fight hard for one, when their child does not have a need for one.
What is important is that as a parent, you voice your opinion, your concerns and why you think your child does or does not need one. School staff will help you navigate the ins and outs of the law and requirements to see if your child does need one. After the team (including parent ) decides if a student has a need for special ed, the IEP will be written.
The team will look at your child's strengths, areas of need and create goals to help your child succeed in school. Sometimes, it will be a goal related to hearing related equipment. Sometimes, it will be a goal related to language . Sometimes, it is a math or reading vocab goal. After the goals are created, then the service provider will be discussed. Some districts have Special Ed Teachers who teach academic skills to kids who have hearing loss and the Deaf/HH Teacher just works on hearing related topics and skills. Other districts, the Deaf/HH teacher does it all. Be sure that your child has a Deaf/HH teacher on the case if your child has any testing or an IEP. It is illegal for a district to say that they don't have one and your child does not need one. Deaf/HH Teachers have special training to work with your child and educate other staff who work with your child.
Do not speak/sign ill of an IEP around your child; they will catch the negative vibe and then be embarrassed. There is nothing to be embarrassed by. Think of an IEP as a tool to help get your child accommodations and modifications they need. If your child needed crutches or a wheelchair, you would not say," Nah, that is too extra, they should just try harder to walk." Use the tools provided in order to help your child see that they can be successful. Deaf and hard of hearing children can do anything that hearing children can do. If you have any questions about IEPs or your child's IEP in specific, please feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org. Cheers to a personalized and positive IEP for your kid!!
Allison Schley is a teacher of deaf and hard of hearing children. She took her passion for kids with hearing loss and became an author. She wants all children with hearing loss to know they are amazing and that hearing loss will not keep them from following their dreams.