Julie McIsaac
June 23, 2018

Exceptional Lives’ Top 10 IEP Blogs: Everything You Need to Know

Whether your child is just finishing up the school year or beginning to anticipate the start of a new grade, the IEP has likely crossed your mind.  As one of our Exceptional Lives’ users shared with us, entering an IEP meeting can be very intimidating to say the least.  Whether are just learning about what…

Whether your child is just finishing up the school year or beginning to anticipate the start of a new grade, the IEP has likely crossed your mind.  As one of our Exceptional Lives’ users shared with us, entering an IEP meeting can be very intimidating to say the least.  Whether are just learning about what those three little letters stand for, if you are working on a vision statement, or if you are re-assessing your measurable goals our resources are here to help you be confident and comfortable when you pull up to the table as your child’s best advocate.

Here is our top 10 for Exceptional Lives IEP related blogs:

  1. When and How to Start Thinking About an IEP. Do you remember the first time you went in for a screening or assessment? You leave with notes and pamphlets, trying to remember the details but recalling only a few words? Do you remember trying to make sense of the jargon, knowing you had so much to learn, so much to do? Maybe you’re processing information, but maybe you’re just frozen because it just feels too big to know where to start.

  2. Preparing a Vision and Goals for Your Child’s IEP. Now that you’ve determined your child qualifies for special education services, first and foremost pat yourself on the back! You’ve taken a huge step toward getting the services and support your child needs in the classroom, and that is no small task! You’re opening doors to his or her future success in school and that is awesome.

  3. Shared Expectations: How to Identify Measurable IEP Goals. The IEP is an opportunity to identify your child’s strengths and create a plan to address any challenges. To make a plan that is understood by everyone involved in your child’s school experience, we must have goals. These goals are best identified as measurable goals in an effort to track progress and have shared expectations for all involved.

  4. My Child Has an IEP, What are Next Steps? Now that you have an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for your child, which puts services and supports in place to help meet their needs in the classroom, what happens next? Once signed, your child’s IEP becomes a legal contract between you and the school. And it’s time to take next steps.

  5. 5 Tips to Prepare for Your IEP Meeting. Have you recently started the special education process? Do you have a meeting with the school coming up? We’ve compiled tips on how to stay organized, with some added Parent Pointers.

  6. Ask the Attorney: “What’s the Difference Between an IEP and a 504 Plan?” In short, an IEP describes the special instruction or services that a student needs in order to access the curriculum. A 504 plan, on the other hand, describes accommodations that will help the student succeed in the classroom and follow the curriculum – but without changing the curriculum itself.

  7. 3 Tips for Tracking Your Child’s Progress at School. Tracking your child’s improvement against his goals involves comparing old and new documents, as well as understanding the reports you receive from the teacher and school. Here are some tips to keep organized and prepared.

  8. Person with Autism Shares Advice on IEP Meetings. Feeling anxious about your child’s IEP meeting? If there’s one thing that’s certain, you’re not the only one feeling that way. Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings will determine the way your child will learn, so of course you feel uneasy. This letter from Kerry Magro, a young adult with autism, offers encouragement and advice on how to keep your head held high when you walk through that door to your IEP meeting.

And then to remember what all of this is all about.

9. How to Reduce Back to School Stress. New teachers, classrooms, expectations, and classmates – and that’s only a few of the changes! Sights, sounds, specialists, and a full day school day for my daughter are all new as well. It sort of makes my head spin if I think about it too much. And as our anxiety levels increase around these “to dos” our children sense it and their anxiety levels increase as well.

So, what do we do?

10. A Parent’s Letter to Her Child’s New Teacher: “You’ve Seen the Diagnosis, Now Meet My Child.” By now you’ve likely seen the diagnoses and read the IEP.  But I want to tell you more. I want to tell you that his hair is super short because he gave himself a haircut and we couldn’t salvage the locks. I want to tell you why he did it and how we are proud of how he dealt with it. I want to tell you that there is nothing sweeter than the first good morning interactions with this loving child. It’s helpful to know what he’s eaten that day and how it could be affecting his behavior. I see changes based on how the morning went, or his sleep, or how his brothers’ moods are impacting him. I think it’s all important and I’ll want to tell you everything. I also know that I can’t tell you everything. I will follow your lead.

If one of these topics resonates with you, or if you’re looking for help with the Special Education Process, let’s get started!

  • Julie McIsaac, Ph.D.

    Child Development and Disability Advisor

    Julie specializes in working with children and families with diverse developmental profiles She uses reflective practice, emotion-coaching, play and a relationship-based framework to support skill building in the areas of emotional-regulation and problem-solving. Julie consults with families, schools and community organizations. As a parent, she understands the need to have a cohesive team supporting a child and family.

    Profile Photo of Julie McIsaac
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