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 be intimidated. In fact, the team is obligated to provide you with training if it’s appropriate.
Parent Training in IDEA
Parent counseling and training is an important IEP related service. Yes, you read that correctly! If you are looking it up, it’s under the definition of related services.
IEP Parent Training is found at §300.34(c)(8) and reads:
(8)(i) Parent counseling and training means assisting parents in understanding the special needs of their child;
(ii) Providing parents with information about child development; and
(iii) Helping parents to acquire the necessary skills that will allow them to support the implementation of their child’s IEP or IFSP.
The first two parts of this definition are longstanding in IDEA. The last part—regarding helping parents acquire the necessary skills that will allow them to support the implementation of their child’s IEP or IFSP—was added in the 1997 revision “to recognize the more active role of parents as participants in the education of their children” and is retained in IDEA 2004.
You know that ginormous Federal Register that explains IDEA and what was meant? It’s in there (71 Fed. Reg. at 46573). I’ll include it at the bottom if you wish to look it up.
As with all IEP related services, parent counseling and training would only be provided to parents “if a child’s IEP team determines that it is necessary for the child to receive FAPE.”
Womp, womp. So there you go. Just like any other part of your child’s IEP, it’s a negotiation. Put your Parent Concerns in writing, do the ask, and ask for a follow up with a PWN.
What counts are Parent Training on an IEP?
Many parents find training and education on their own. Either you read articles online, you might attend workshops or other events that you’ve heard from networking with other families.
However, it has come to my attention recently, that particularly for Black families, training and education for an IEP is rarely offered. Keep that in mind if you work on an IEP team, and that your unconscious biases are not preventing you from offering training to some parents.
That being said, over the years I have found some areas where parent training is particularly necessary, or may only be available from a school team. Here are some ideas for adding parent training to your IEP if it’s appropriate.
Ideas for Parent IEP Training
- Training on how to use AT devices (this one is huge!)
- Training on software or computer programs that child needs–anything you don’t understand, Study Island, Schoology, Nearpod, etc.
- Implementing behavior modification techniques at home, particularly ABA.
- Data collection-learn how the team collects data so that you can replicate and understand it.
- Reinforcing whatever reading curriculum is being used; reinforcing reading skills.
- Any part of your child’s supports, services, or eligibility category that you do not understand.
- Transition time–either preschool to kindergarten or the teenage transition time.
- Postsecondary options like OVR, workplace training, 13th years, etc.
- Explanations on vocational options if your child is pursuing that instead of the traditional college route.
- Any practice, exercises or routines that your child does at school that you need to reinforce at home.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. It is just a handful of ideas that were a natural fit to add to an IEP, and we were not met with much resistance.
Good luck and as always, if you have questions, join our Facebook Group and ask!