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Getting Your Child an IEP

If your child has recently been diagnosed with a disability, you might wonder how to get them an IEP or what an IEP is. It is totally normal to have questions about getting your child an IEP and what to do if your school is not making an IEP for your child. In this post we are going to go over, what an IEP is, getting your child an IEP, what to expect during the meeting, and how to advocate for them if the school fails to act.

What is an IEP?

An IEP stands for Individualized Educational Plan. All students who receive special education services have to have one. 

It will look different from case to case, but generally, all IEPs include a description of your child’s disability classification, current level of functioning, and goals knowledgable professionals feel your child should work towards in the next year. 

It may also include any accommodations your child needs to function in the classroom. Such as headphones to reduce noise, wheelchair accessibility, written directions, graphic organizers, and much more. 

Getting Your Child an IEP

You cannot request your child receive an IEP without an official diagnosis. However, you can request the school evaluate your child. Evaluations can show if they have a condition that qualifies them for an IEP.

Your school can also recommend assessments on its own. Please note, however, the school needs your consent to assess your child. All assessments should be done in your child’s first language.

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) here are thirteen different classifications for IEPs

  • Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Deafness
  • Physical Disability
  • Intellectual Disability
  • Specific Learning Disability 
  • Speech and Language Impairment
  • Hearing Impairment
  • Visual Impairment 
  • Emotional Disturbance
  • Orthopedic Impairment
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Multiple Disabilities
  • Other Health Impairment

The assessment your school should provide at no cost to you will depend on your child’s specific considerations. If a diagnosis is made, your school must hold an IEP meeting.

For more information on what to expect from the assessment and evaluations, click here!

What to Expect at the Meeting

You will attend the meeting, along with everyone who works with your child and a district representative. Everyone will need to sign an attendance page.

You are also free to bring any advocates or lawyers to the meeting if you choose. 

At this meeting, everyone will discuss how your child performs in various environments in the school, as well as their development, and any other relevant indicators of their growth and progress. 

Service providers for your child will also review what goals they want added to the IEP, as well as any accommodations needed to ensure your child’s education and safety.

Remember You are in Charge

It can be intimidating for many parents to sit in these meetings, surrounded by professionals who are telling you something. 

If you disagree with them, want something added or taken out, speak up and express your concerns. This is your child, and they cannot provide any special education services or work towards any goals without your consent.

If you have concerns about the IEP, you do not have to sign it and can have it looked over by another professional or advocate.

What if the school won’t help?

If your school is refusing to evaluate your child, craft an IEP for him/her, or uphold the IEP, that can be a sign of discrimination.  

Federal Civil Rights Laws protect children with disabilities. As organizations that receive federal funding, schools must comply with all civil rights laws. 

Be on the lookout for other signs of discrimination. 

Click here to download our free signs of discrimination checklist. 

When to Contact a Lawyer

We at Cueto Law help families who feel their child is being discriminated against based on their disability, gender identity, sexual orientation, and more. 

Keep a log of all incidents that cause you to suspect discriminatory practices by your school. Also, save all correspondence between yourself and the school staff. Take notes during any meetings and phone calls you have.

Make sure to download our free discrimination checklist to make sure you know what to look for. 

If your child’s school is discriminating against them, call us at 618-277-1554.

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