An Education Assistant’s Guide to IEPs

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Professionals with educational assistant training know that an Individualized Education Program (IEP) is an important document that’s created to help observe and oversee the learning progress and challenges of every child receiving special education services. An IEP should include the specific educational requirements of a child, the goals that he or she should strive to reach, and an outline of the services that the school will provide to help that child progress. There are generally a range of people who have a hand in creating and monitoring the IEP, these can include parents, teachers and other education professionals.

If you plan to pursue an educational assistant diploma, read on to discover how Individualized Education Programs work, and their benefit for young learners.

Evaluation Process

Industry professionals know that in order for a child to qualify for an Individualized Education Program, he or she must first undergo an extensive evaluation process. During an evaluation, a child will typically be observed within his or her educational environment, and given a range of tests. It’s important to note that while any qualified evaluator, like a school psychologist, can perform the evaluation; a diagnosis can only come from a medical professional. Generally, evaluations will focus on every aspect of a student’s needs, these can include:

· Health

· Vision

· Social and emotional development

· Learning potential

· Academic performance

· Communication skills

· Motor skills

The evaluation process can differ by child, as every child is unique. However, there are a wide range of approaches that can be taken during the assessment, including interviews, physical exams, behavioural assessments and more.

Decision-Making Process

The final decision on a child’s eligibility for an IEP is made by various school officials, as well as the parents of the child. School officials will look over the results of the evaluation with the child’s parents, and together they will decide if there is enough evidence suggesting that the child requires support learning the curriculum. Once the child’s parents and other school officials agree that he or she requires IEP services, they will work together in creating the IEP.

The Elements of an IEP

Individuals who have taken educational assistant courses understand that while every IEP will generally contain all of the same elements, each and every child is unique in their own way; therefore the Individualized Education Program will vary slightly from child to child.

Generally, an IEP will contain an outline of the child’s abilities, skills, weaknesses and strengths. The IEP will also include the results of the child’s evaluation, and the special education services that will be provided to help him or her progress. Of course, any industry expert knows that it is crucial for an IEP to describe and explain exactly how a child’s progress will be measured and reported to the parents, as well as details of the child’s participation in classes and extracurricular activities. Professionals will also include information regarding accommodations and modifications, supplementary aids and services, annual educational goals and the date that the IEP will go into effect.

Do you think that Individualized Education Plans are effective? Could they be improved in any way?

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