Special Education Advocate
IEP'S: Tactics and Strategies
We are moving into IEP season. Every week, we receive dozens of
questions about IEP's. If you want to learn about IEP's, read these
articles. When you master this information, you will be prepared
for your next IEP meeting!
"Your Child's IEP: Practical and Legal Guidance"
The goals and objectives in your child's IEP should be based on
your child's present level of performance. What are your child's
present levels of performance? What were your child's present levels
of performance when the last IEP was written? "Your Child's
IEP" is a comprehensive article that describes IEP's and the
You will learn about:
- Present Levels of Performance – Iis the IEP adequate? Is the
- Measurable goals and objectives – educational benefit and FAPE
- How to Measure Educational Progress – A Valuable Tool (appendix
- Objective Testing vs. Subjective Observations
- Understanding the Parental Role
- Passing Grades and Grade Inflation
- Sample IEP Goals
- Download Your Child's IEP
"Understanding Tests and Measurements"
Before you can develop and IEP for your child, you and the IEP
team need answers to questions. On objective testing, where are
your child's skills now? Is your child making progress? Is your
child falling further behind? Is your child receiving educational
benefit from the current special education program? How do you answer
these questions? You will find answers in your child's test scores
– standard scores, percentile ranks, subtest scores, and age and
grade equivalent scores. If you want to learn how to write appropriate
IEP goals and objectives, you need to learn how to interpret educational
and psychological test scores. Download and print "Understanding
Tests and Measurements." Expect to read this article three
times. NOTE: to ensure that you get the graphics in this article,
you may want to print the article from the screen (rather than download
As you read "Your Child's IEP" and "Understanding
Tests and Measurements" you will learn how to write measurable
IEP goals and objectives. You will also learn how to avoid vague,
meaningless goals and objectives found in many IEP's (i.e., "80%
success on teacher made tests").
IEP Goals and Objectives
What can parents do to get good goals and objectives in their child's
IEP? What can parents do when the school proposes to use subjective
"teacher observations", not objective testing, to measure
the child's progress? When should parents use a consultant to help
develop IEP goals and objectives? How can parents avoid "methodology
disputes"? You will get answers to these questions about how
to use tactics and strategies in IEP's.
How To Use Follow-Up Letters
Advice from parent advocate Pat Howey about how to get the IEP
team to answer your questions, avoid power struggles, deal with
IEP meeting frustrations, and use your power wisely.
Letter to Wrightslaw: "How Can I Get an Appropriate Program
for My Child?"
Kate writes: "My son was placed in special education in second
grade – he is now in fifth grade. When he entered special education,
his reading level was 1.3. After 30 months of special education,
his reading level is 2.3. He is falling further behind, not closing
the gap. I requested that the school use a program that is systematic,
sequential, repetitive, and phonologically based. The school insists
that their generic program (where he made 12 months of "progress"
in 30 months time) is fine. How can I get them to provide an appropriate
program?" Read our answer to Kate in Letter to Wrightslaw.
"IEP's: Legal Resources"
Appendix A: A Valuable Tool
Appendix A to the federal regulations includes 40 questions and
answers about IEP's. Appendix A will answer many of your questions
about IEP goals, objectives and benchmarks; IEP meetings and IEP
team members; the parental role; transition; and other important
When you read Appendix A, use a highlighter or sticky notes to
mark important information. Before your next IEP meeting, re-read
Appendix A. If you ask for a service or support and the school says,
"We can't do that," the final issue may be covered in
Appendix A. Appendix A can help you resolve IEP problems before
they get out of hand. Download a FREE copy of Appendix A from Wrightslaw:
Special Education Law.
Here are links to three good cases about appropriate IEP's:
Kanawha v. Michael M. In this case about an appropriate program
for a child with autism, the court analyzed "appropriate"
in the context of the Rowley decision, discussed educational benefit,
and provided guidelines about an appropriate IEP. Kanawha v. Michael
M. is one of Pete's favorite cases "not because it has great
precedence, but because it does an excellent job of describing difficulties
in the legal definition of "appropriate" in developing
Evans v. Rhinebeck. This is a New York tuition reimbursement case
that discusses components of an appropriate IEP for a child with
T.H. v. Palatino. This case focuses on an appropriate program for
a young child with autism, and includes a good discussion of vague
subjective IEP goals and objectives.
Good Books About IEPs
"Preparing Instructional Objectives" by Robert Mager.
In the best selling book on this subject, Dr. Mager teaches you
how to write clear measurable IEP goals and objectives. "Preparing
Instructional Objectives" will help you master the essential
elements of writing a well-stated objective, how to describe the
performances you expect to achieve, identify the conditions under
which you expect the performance to occur, and set criteria for
"The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special
Needs Child" by Lawrence Siegel
"Wrightslaw: Special Education Law" by Peter W. D. Wright
and Pamela Darr Wright
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