Zoom Autism Magazine Issue 1 Fall 2014 - Page 16

IEP, 504, BIP… If you’re anything like me, you took one look at those terms and thought, “Great, a bunch of gobbledygook designed with the sole purpose of disarming parents.” Acronyms tend to make this mama break out in a cold sweat, and, unfortunately, the school system loves them. I’m here to tell you that with each passing year and with the right preparation, the process doesn’t have to be painful. Here are some tips to get the best out of your child’s education without losing your mind. First, the Jargon IEP stands for Individualized Education Program, which is essentially a customized list of what your kid needs in order to reach his academic goals. It covers the kind of placement your child will have for the coming year, be it in a regular class setting with direct/indirect support or in a special class with integration. The IEP will also allow for any physical adaptations your child may need, such as any special software, and modifications in what your child is required to perform, such as completing a limited number of answers. “the Iep IS A WORKING DOCUMENT; THAT IS TO SAY THAT IT’S NOT SET IN STONE.” The IEP is a joint document, meaning that while it’s not your responsibility as a parent to draw it up, you are a joint author or collaborator when it comes to content. Also worth noting is that the IEP is a working document; that is to say that it’s not set in stone. You are free to review and consult with school staff about any aspect of the IEP at any point during the academic year. The Magic Formula: What Makes for a Good IEP? The most crucial ingredients in an IEP are specificity and practicality. Before you sign your child’s IEP, ask yourself the following questions: to jargon, IEPs tend to rely on stats to measure progress. Where possible, try to use specific end goals. Instead of saying “X will improve in math and numeracy,” which is far too general to be meaningful, try “X will be able to perform two-digit addition and subtraction with 90% accuracy.” Be realistic about the progress that is achievable within a given year. We all want leaps and bounds for our children in terms of gains, but Rome took a while to build. It is far better to take your cues from what your kid achieved in the previous year than to set the bar too high and risk disappointment. 1. Are the goals specific and Keeping Relationships measurable? Sweet 2. Are the goals realistic and achievable? It may be cliché to talk about building a positive Unfortunately, in addition rapport with your child’s