How to Build a Meaningful IEP for Autism | Autism IEP Goals | Sample IEP for Autism

How to Build a Meaningful IEP for Autism | Autism IEP Goals | Sample IEP for Autism

IEP for Autism For almost 10 years, readers have been asking me questions about an IEP and autism. It’s quite common in our Facebook group to have a Mom pop in and say “We were just told we were getting an IEP for autism, what should I ask for?” For 10 years, I have resisted…

IEP Goal Considerations for Middle School and High School Students | Accommodations

IEP Goal Considerations for Middle School and High School Students | Accommodations

Middle School and High School IEPs Before we get started on things to think about for your middle school IEP or high school IEP, there are a few things parents should know. First, middle school or high school is not a concept addressed in IDEA. IDEA does not require nor call for anything special to…

The Many Flaws of School FBAs and Behavior Plans

The Many Flaws of School FBAs and Behavior Plans

FBAs and Behavior Plans FBAs and Behavior Plans are a common component of IEPs. And, after 12 years of advocacy, I’m seeing the same issues over and over. Most importantly–they often don’t work. The same kids are being suspended, failing grades, and being ostracized by both peers and staff. I’m going to outline some common…

Assistive Technology AAC and your IEP | Goals | Examples

Assistive Technology AAC and your IEP | Goals | Examples

Assistive Technology AAC Questions about Assistive Technology are some of the most common ones that we receive as advocates. How do I get an AT device? How do I know which AAC or Assistive Technology device to choose? Who pays for assistive technology? Assistive Technology is a support or service that has many names. Many…

Can a School or IEP Team Demand Access to Medical Records or Information?

Can a School or IEP Team Demand Access to Medical Records or Information?

Can a School Demand Medical Information? I can’t believe that I am even doing a blog post on this topic. But it’s only Tuesday and it has already come up three times in our Facebook group. We’ve had several situations where a school or IEP team member has asked or demanded medical information or access…

Retaking Tests | Why IEP Teams Should Rethink this Accommodation

Retaking Tests | Why IEP Teams Should Rethink this Accommodation

Retaking Tests Accommodation Allowing a student to retake a test is a very common IEP accommodation. And, at first glance, it seems like a reasonable one. Reasonable? Sure. Helpful….mmm, not so sure. Last week I completed a post about extended time on tests. This accommodation goes with that one, and both are seen together, frequently,…

Can a School Deny an IEP Evaluation? | Next Steps for Parents

Can a School Deny an IEP Evaluation? | Next Steps for Parents

Refused IEP Evaluations Let me be blunt–If your child’s IEP evaluations suck, the rest of your IEP will be garbage. Without good evals, the IEP present levels, the eligibility, the goals, the baselines, supports and services–all of it will be worthless. That’s why it’s so essential that you pay close attention to this part of…

How to Request IEP Evaluations | 25 IEP Request Letter Samples

How to Request IEP Evaluations | 25 IEP Request Letter Samples

Sample Letter to Request IEP Evaluations You will definitely want to bookmark or pin this post. I have often said that one of the biggest IEP mistakes that parents make is not doing everything in writing. The worst case scenario is that you end up in a Due Process Hearing. And then, what will matter…

IEP Testing and Evaluations | What IEP Tests should I ask for?

IEP Testing and Evaluations | What IEP Tests should I ask for?

IEP Evaluations Different variations of questions come up about IEP evaluations all the time. Parents are unclear about timelines, what tests to ask for and sometimes get confused with the IEP re-evaluation process. As a result, after 8 years of this blog, at one point I had a dozen posts about IEP evaluations, IEP re-evaluations,…

IEP Re-Evaluations | What Parents Need to Know | Timelines

IEP Re-Evaluations | What Parents Need to Know | Timelines

IEP Re-evaluations Ok, so here we go. I used to have IEP re-evaluation information in my post about IEP evaluations. But, I’ve since decided that IEP re-evals are worthy of their own post. Initial evals are sort of their own beast, since that is what gets the IEP process started. But, with re-evaluations, parents have…

How to Become a Special Education Advocate in 2022 | IEP Advocacy Training

How to Become a Special Education Advocate in 2022 | IEP Advocacy Training

Become an IEP Special Education Advocate I never intended to become a Special Education Advocate. I took some IEP training because my disabled son was a toddler and I thought that the information would be good to have. Then, the 2008 recession hit, and I found myself unemployed. For me, it definitely was one of…

How to Stay Positive when you Hate IEP Meetings | IEP Gossip

How to Stay Positive when you Hate IEP Meetings | IEP Gossip

IEP Negativity Recently there was a lively discussion in our Facebook group. A teacher said something inappropriate to a student. Not sexual or anything like that, just unprofessional. But I took a lot of grief from members because I presented the teacher’s side. After all, she had been criticized on social media by the parents….

7 Red Flags that your IEP is Garbage. {and what to do about it!}

7 Red Flags that your IEP is Garbage. {and what to do about it!}

How to tell when you have a crappy IEP. I’ve attended more IEP meetings than I can count. Or even care to count. I get it–parents only call in a Special Education Advocate when there’s trouble. If you were happy with things, you wouldn’t need help, right? But what that means is that as an…

How to Understand your Child’s IEP Evaluations | Preparing for an IEP Eligibility Meeting

How to Understand your Child’s IEP Evaluations | Preparing for an IEP Eligibility Meeting

Interpreting IEP Evaluations For me, both as a Special Education Advocate and a Parent, I find the hardest part of the IEP process to be the IEP eligibility evaluations. For each re-evaluation, my son (or my clients) may receive upward of 10-12 assessments. That’s a dozen protocols I have to look up, read and understand….

Do IEPs Transfer? Can We Stay In The Same School If We Move? FAQs About School And Moving

Do IEPs Transfer? Can We Stay In The Same School If We Move? FAQs About School And Moving

School, IEPs And Moving To A Different School/State Families move. It happens. Jobs, marriage, divorce, lots of reasons. The most important takeaways from this article are: Just because a child moves, does not mean that their needs have changed. So why should their IEP change? The new school district MUST PROVIDE you with any proposed…

How to Get Started with an IEP For Your Child.

How to Get Started with an IEP For Your Child.

Getting Started in the World of IEPs IEP stands for Individual Education Plan. It is just what it says. Children with disabilities are entitled to a “free and appropriate education” but what that looks like for each child is Individual. The concept of Special Education has only been around at the national level since 1975….

Advocate’s Tip: These Few Short Sentences on your Child’s IEP Could Prevent Suspensions.

Advocate’s Tip: These Few Short Sentences on your Child’s IEP Could Prevent Suspensions.

Important items that must be on your child’s IEP. “I got a call to pick up my daughter today because she put a child in a choke hold.” And of course this child with an IEP was on her way to a suspension. That’s what one of our group members posted recently. Sounds awful, right?…

ESY | Extended School Year | ESY Eligibility Criteria | ESY Services

ESY | Extended School Year | ESY Eligibility Criteria | ESY Services

ESY Extended School Year What is ESY? ESY (extended school year) is anything that extends beyond the normal six hours a day, 180 days a year. It is a provision of IDEA and is not just summer school. See ESY booklet below, IDEA regs on page 4. It can be anything (as long as the…

IEP Advocacy: How to keep Your IEP Life Running Smoothly

IEP Advocacy: How to keep Your IEP Life Running Smoothly

New Beginnings I have this love-hate relationship with winter. I live in the mid-Atlantic and the weather here is less than desirable. Sure, we have some winter days with sunshine and temperatures in the 50s. But most of January through April is cold, gray and wet. But, I use the shorter, darker days and long,…

IEP Coach | Training | Certification | Why to Hire One Instead of an IEP Advocate

IEP Coach | Training | Certification | Why to Hire One Instead of an IEP Advocate

IEP Coach Lately I have started calling myself an IEP Coach instead of an IEP Advocate or Special Education Advocate. For me, it’s not just a matter of semantics. I am changing the entire structure of my business and business model. And, while I will still be an Advocate, I am much more looking forward…

Is A Child With Passing Grades Eligible For Special Education Under Idea? | What To Do When “His Grades Are Fine!”

Is A Child With Passing Grades Eligible For Special Education Under Idea? | What To Do When “His Grades Are Fine!”

Denied an IEP or 504 because Grades are Good I had this client one time who has a phenomenal memory. I mean it, like nothing you’ve ever seen. His memory and recall were almost savant-like. In fact, he could memorize and recall so much information, he was tested and labeled as gifted at a young…

Can a School Suspend a Student with an IEP? | 5 action steps, with or without an IEP or 504 Plan

Can a School Suspend a Student with an IEP? | 5 action steps, with or without an IEP or 504 Plan

Can you Suspend a Student with an IEP? It happened again. You were at work, in the middle of…working. And the phone rings again. You look and see the dreaded phone number-it’s the school. And you know what is ahead. You have to go pick up your child because they’ve been suspended. Again. Here is…

IEP Progress Monitoring with Accelerated Readers? | AR Books | Reading Levels

IEP Progress Monitoring with Accelerated Readers? | AR Books | Reading Levels

AR Reading Levels The other day I did a post on the OG Approach and I thought that talking about AR Reading Levels would be a good complement to that. Because, in my experience, AR is great and useful tool. However, much like Orton Gillingham, it is misunderstood and misused. I think Accelerated Reader is…

When your IEP Team says, “We don’t do that here.” | Next Steps for Parents

When your IEP Team says, “We don’t do that here.” | Next Steps for Parents

We don’t do that here. I got two inquiries recently that are very similar. Both parents asked for something on their child’s IEP and both were told, “We don’t do that here.” It happens often, actually. Can a school say that? Can they deny a service based on “we don’t offer that here?” Short answer,…

Special Education Timelines | When Should the School Respond to IEP Requests or Evals?

Special Education Timelines | When Should the School Respond to IEP Requests or Evals?

IEP Timelines How long does a school have to: respond to IEP email? schedule an IEP meeting? evaluate my child? begin services in a new school year? send me the final draft of the IEP? All those questions and more are answered below. I’ve compiled the common questions that parents ask about IEP timelines below….

What to Do if you Disagree with your IEP Team about Goals.

What to Do if you Disagree with your IEP Team about Goals.

I don’t want that IEP goal. I know I’ve told the story several times. The story of my first IEP meeting with my school district. Kevin was 4 and we were meeting about possible kindergarten transition. The overall meeting was one of the worst I’ve ever experienced. So much wrong with it from start to…

4 Phrases that Create more Chaos than Cooperation in IEPs.

4 Phrases that Create more Chaos than Cooperation in IEPs.

Confusing Legal IEP Terms There are some words in the IEP process that seem to create more chaos than cooperation. And darnit parents, there are just some words that are toxic to the collaborative environment and I wish you’d stop using them. Read on…. Let me ask you, is your child’s education appropriate? What?!?! Unless…

Does my child have to ride the Special Ed Bus to get Transportation on our IEP or 504?

Does my child have to ride the Special Ed Bus to get Transportation on our IEP or 504?

Special Education Transportation “It’s the bus. It’s always the bus!” My former supervisor used to say that so often. So many issues around a school bus ride. Lots of kids, no seatbelts, unstructured time, no one watching them (because we want the driver watching the road, right?). And it goes on. This post is long…

IEP Cover Page | Double-Check This Item on the Front Page of your Child’s IEP.

IEP Cover Page | Double-Check This Item on the Front Page of your Child’s IEP.

IEP Cover Page Imagine for a moment that you are a teacher and it’s the first day of class. Every child is wearing a baseball cap. On the front of each hat is a phrase or two, such as: “has a lisp,” “allergic to peanuts,” “loves to read,” and you see one that says, “emotionally…

ABA Therapy in Public Schools | How to Get ABA Therapy in your IEP.

ABA Therapy in Public Schools | How to Get ABA Therapy in your IEP.

ABA Therapy in Schools “I want my child in an ABA program.” ABA therapies are very popular (and controversial). Many parents want their child in an ABA Therapy Program at school or to receive ABA therapy during school hours. It took us over a year to get my child into an ABA therapy program at…

What is OHI on the IEP? | Understanding Other Health Impairments | ADHD

What is OHI on the IEP? | Understanding Other Health Impairments | ADHD

OHI on the IEP IDEA has 14 eligibility categories for an IEP. One of them is OHI. I find that OHI is one of the most frequently misunderstood one by parents, especially when it comes to ADHD. ADHD is, of course, a learning disability. Parents enter into the process fully expecting their child with ADHD…

Parent Training on your IEP | Yes, it’s a thing!

Parent Training on your IEP | Yes, it’s a thing!

Parent Counseling and Training on an IEP One little-known feature of IDEA is the section on parent training. Parents are often unaware that they can ask for training and/or counseling as part of their child’s Special Education. Many parents are intimidated because school personnel may know more about pedagogy or curriculum. But, no need to…

How To Write a Parent Concerns Letter for your IEP that Gets Noticed | Templates

How To Write a Parent Concerns Letter for your IEP that Gets Noticed | Templates

How to Write IEP Parent Concerns. I’m going to wag my finger at you–from this day forward, you do a Parent Concerns Letter for your IEP. Every.single.time. No more “Well I didn’t know…” or “I didn’t think I had to do one each time…” Now you know. Do one. This is one of the most…

IDEA Procedural Safeguards | The IEP Parents’ Rights Document that most Parents never read.

IDEA Procedural Safeguards | The IEP Parents’ Rights Document that most Parents never read.

Special Education Procedural Safeguards Ok, finger-wagging time. Because I know that a very large percentage of parents are not reading your IEP Procedural Safeguards. I can tell by the questions you ask. Because many of the questions I am asked to answer (as an advocate) are very easily answered by looking at Procedural Safeguards. I’ve included…

How to Get an Effective Behavior Plan on your IEP | FBA

How to Get an Effective Behavior Plan on your IEP | FBA

Functional Behavior Assessments FBA In the IEP process, there is little that bothers me more than when I hear about one of our kids repeatedly being suspended, and the group will ask, “Does he have an FBA and behavior plan?” To which the parent responds “What’s an FBA?” Mind you, I’m not mad at the…

Special Factors in the IEP | Parent and Team Considerations

Special Factors in the IEP | Parent and Team Considerations

Special Factors in the IEP Most of the questions that we receive as educational advocates are about the implementation of the IEP. Let’s face it. It is not an easy document to understand at times because of it’s length and format. But there are the special factors on an IEP that you should be considering…

The Special Education Placement Decision Making Process, explained.

The Special Education Placement Decision Making Process, explained.

Special Education Placement Not only is IEP placement one of the most debated topics among parents, it’s also one of the most contentious issues you will have with your school district. So what are the placement options for learning disabled students? How do I get my child into a private placement? IEP placement is one…

What to do when your desired (out-of-district) IEP placement rejects your child.

What to do when your desired (out-of-district) IEP placement rejects your child.

IEP Placement: Private and Out-of-District Ahhh…you’re finally there. After months (maybe years!) of IEP meetings, you and your school district have agreed that your child needs a private placement. Success! Finally, no more stagnating, no more regression. Your child will finally be in a more appropriate placement. And then, you get the sucker punch. It…

PWN in Special Education: The little known game-changer in the IEP process.

PWN in Special Education: The little known game-changer in the IEP process.

Prior Written Notice-PWN How many times have you heard phrases like these, at IEP meetings, when you’ve suggested something? I don’t think he/she needs that. Why don’t we ‘wait and see’ and talk about it in a few months? I have to discuss this with {someone with more authority} and then I’ll get back to…

8 Popular Reading Programs {+how to get them in your IEP!}

8 Popular Reading Programs {+how to get them in your IEP!}

Reading Programs “How do I get Wilson Reading Program added to my child’s IEP?” That’s a question that comes up a lot in the Facebook group. And several reading programs come up in the discussion. So how do you know? What reading program will help your child? This is one area of IEPs where I…

They said my child is too old to be considered for “developmental delay.”

They said my child is too old to be considered for “developmental delay.”

Developmental Delay It’s weird, right? Your child has had an IEP for years, and his disability classification has always been Developmental Delays. Now, all of a sudden you feel blindsided because the school is telling you that they cannot check that box anymore. But your child is still disabled and has many delays. This can’t…