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ABA Works provides ABA services in schools
All you need to know about an IEP
It’s back to school time! For students who require special education services, you may hear about an IEP. In this blog post, I will explain what an IEP is. Before I do that, I want to share some news first.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many students have not been able to meet their IEP goals, so schools are challenged to meet the student’s needs. The good news is, that our agency, ABA Works, is actively advocating for the students, so they can meet their IEP goals. We are joining IEPs, sharing our knowledge, and offer our ABA services in the schools. ABA Works’ goal is to get contracts with various school districts in the LA/Long Beach region, to help students meet their IEP goals.
Now I will start with an explanation of what an IEP is.
What is an IEP?
An IEP, also known as the Individualized Education Program, is a legal document and process that is developed and tailored for a student with an identified disability. An IEP ensures that the student receives specialized instruction and other related services that promote the student to progress and thrive in school. Through the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), all students with disabilities are entitled to free appropriate public education (FAPE) to meet their needs. This means that public schools and schools that are state-funded must legally provide special education services to eligible students with disabilities from kindergarten to 12th grade, including preschool-aged children. Now that we know what an IEP is, the next step is learning how to request an IEP.
To get the ball rolling on the IEP process is to start with an evaluation. If the student does not have an IEP, an initial evaluation must be formally requested by the school. The request can be made by the student’s legal guardian(s), teachers, or other service providers, such as a physician. While teachers and other service providers can request for an IEP evaluation, the school, by law, must have consent from the student’s legal guardian(s).
When the request has been processed by the school, the school must provide a proposed assessment plan within 15 days. Once you have received the school’s proposed plan, you must review and decide if you consent to the plan. If you have consented and signed the assessment plan, it must be returned to the school within 15 days. Once the school receives the signed assessment plan, they must conduct the evaluation and schedule a meeting to discuss the results with you within 60 days.
During the meeting, it is determined by the student’s IEP team if the student is eligible. The IEP team consists of:
- The student’s legal guardian(s),
- At least 1 general education teacher,
- At least 1 special education teacher,
- A school district representative,
- A person who can interpret the results of the evaluation,
- A translator (if one is needed and must be requested in advance prior to the scheduled meeting), and
- The student (as appropriate)
- If applicable, an ABA Clinician. Our agency, ABA Works, always provides the families with support during an IEP if this is requested and clinically important.
If the student is found eligible, the next step is to schedule an IEP meeting to form the IEP document. It is during this meeting the IEP team will develop the IEP document that describes the student’s educational needs and services provided to meet those needs. By law, an IEP should include:
- A statement of the student’s current educational performance level,
- A statement of measurable goals, including short- and long-term objectives,
- A statement of the special education and related services that the student needs;
- An explanation as to why the student will not participate with nondisabled students, and
- The projected dates for services to begin.
For legal guardian(s), if more time is needed to review the proposed IEP, you may ask to continue at a different time before consenting. As the student’s legal guardian, you are the student’s greatest advocate in their education. If you consent to the IEP, the school must implement it as soon as possible. Throughout the student’s educational years, it is important to note that while IEP meetings are held annually a request can be made for an earlier meeting. An earlier meeting can be requested if there are concerns about the student’s current IEP or if a new educational issue has occurred for the student.
If you need support with your child’s IEP, and you are a client (or not a client) of ABA Works, please contact us so we can support you. The more the parent will advocate getting our ABA services in the school, the more chance we have that the school district will allow us to support your child in the school. Remember, you are your child’s biggest advocate, and parents can move mountains for their children.
Kathleen Ruano, RBT, and Lilyan W.J. Campbell, LMFT, BCBA (Clinical Director, ABA Works)
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