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IEP Meeting Requirements, IEP Meaning, vs 504

IEP Meeting Requirements, IEP Meaning, vs 504

IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan, and it means there is a meeting where you discuss the special services that public schools provide to children with learning struggles, developmental delays or other special needs, at no cost to you, provided under this plan. These meetings are specific, well-developed, tailored to your child’s needs and their purpose is to help your child succeed in school.

IEP vs 504 | Do I need an IEP | Who Attends | What is Discussed | How should I prepare

IEP vs 504

The term "504 plan" refers to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which specifies that "no one with a disability can be excluded from participating in federally funded programs or activities, including elementary, secondary or postsecondary schooling." To qualify, you must meet one of these criteria and create a plan with teachers, school administrators and counselors to draft an educational and rehabilitation plan for the child.

IEP Meeting Requirements

The State of Learning Disabilities form the NCLD

IEP may be recommended for students who have not been diagnosed with a disability. The National Center for Learning Disabilities reports that 1 in 50 students receives a 504 plan, and 1 in 16 receives an IEP, but as many as 1 in 5 suffer from some sort of Learning Disability even into adulthood. The survey also shows 48% of parents believe that their child would grow out of their learning difficulties, and 76% believe the child giving more effort would produce improved results. If your child has a learning difficulty and does not receive intervention, they will not be able to outgrow their cognitive deficits and working harder will fuel frustration and reduce confidence even further.

How do I know my child needs an IEP Meeting

Each state's has different requirements for proving need, but typically a child takes a Cognitive Skills Assessment administered by a licensed Diagnostician. The assessment typically gives age-equivalent percents for the 7 categories of learning defined by Cattell-Horn-Carroll, which happen to be the 7 categories that make up IQ (so you should be able to get a composite score). Sometimes you'll get components of each score but you need these categories: Long Term Memory, Working Memory, Logic & Reasoning, Auditory Processing, Visual Processing, Executive Processing, Attention Cluster. You also typically get an Achievement Assessment to offer age-equivalent scores in Math and Reading skills.

Depending on your state you may meet IEP Requirements for Dyslexia if you have low scores in Auditory Processing, but you may not qualify, if you also have other categories below the minimum due to a possible determination of an alternate diagnosis. If you are having trouble with reading, and you did not qualify for an IEP, you definitely need to give us a call. This is exactly what we specialize in. We see 3.6 years of improvement in reading in as little as 6 months. Results may very but these are typical.

Who is at an IEP Meeting

Each member should attends every IEP meeting in person or by phone. The team includes:
  • Parents should take an active role, and armed with enough information, quarterback this conversation
  • A teacher (an IEP Meeting Requirement for a general education teacher)
  • A special education teacher or other special education provider
  • A school representative that has the power to commit school resources for your child, typically a principal
  • A school psychologist or diagnostician who can interpret your child’s assessment results
  • A parental representative who understands your child (optional)

What will we talk about at an IEP

At the meeting you will "Draft" an IEP. A school can have this prepared in advance or may draft it during the meeting. It is not set in stone. In the meeting you will discuss:

  • Present Level of Performance: this is based on observation and on actual performance in the classroom. This might be related to social, behavioral or motor skills.
  • Annual Goals: After determining goals, subsequent meetings aim to move the needle closer to accomplishing those goals and setting higher goals once achieved
  • Services for Your Child: How are the effects of the current support system aiding the progress toward annual goals. Do services need to be modified to accommodate better performance.
Keep in mind, this is a negotiation for the school to release resources for your child's specific needs. If this seems to be a cookie-cutter approach, remind the team that this is for the benefit of your child and that these accommodations don't seem to reflect your child's individual needs.

How should I prepare for the IEP Meeting

  • Keep the meeting about your child, and don't accept a plan that doesn't meet the individual needs of your child.
  • Involve good outside counsel like an advocate, your education consultant, or your even your spouse. If they cannot attend in person, they should be able to arrange a voice call.
  • You will have to gain buy-in for any changes from at least one of the teachers, and ultimately the administrator.
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