Special Ed e-News at the Special Ed Connection advises that in the panic to write the IEP, cover all the necessary goals, objectives, benchmarks (if applicable), and figure out how to accurately measure progress, the PLOP (present levels of performance) often gets neglected.
If you are into acronyms, the PLOP is known now as the PLAAFP. The Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance provide baseline information about your child’s knowledge and skills. Present levels are the starting point for setting IEP goals and measuring progress toward these goals.
Here’s what IDEA 2004 says about the PLAAFP …
The IEP must include…“a statement of the child’s present levels of academic achievement and functional performance…including how the child’s disability affects the child’s involvement and progress in the general education curriculum;…” 20 U.S.C. 1414(d)(1)(A)
Does my child’s 504 plan have to be revisited at the beginning of each school year? Is there a legal requirement to review it annually?
No, unlike with IEPs, there’s no legal requirement to review a 504 plan each year. But it’s a good idea to have an annual 504 plan review meeting anyway. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a situation where you wouldn’t want to revisit the plan at the start of the year.
The new school year brings a lot of changes for your child—such as new teachers, curriculum and classes. If your child is starting middle or high school, she may be in an unfamiliar setting for the first time. There are also possible changes in medication, as well as new extracurricular activities, like sports and clubs. A 504 plan should adjust for these changes.
The old saying, “There is strength in numbers,” is still true today. If challenges arise during the school year, it is helpful to know you have others you can turn to. Now is the time to nurture alliances with teachers, support staff, parents, students and others who impact you and your child.
Call or send a thank you note to those who provided “bright spots” during the previous year. Mention how you appreciated their involvement and how you look forward to their future support.
Contact others you would like to include among your supporters in the coming year and let them know the important impact they can have in your lives. Be sure to offer your support for their cause in return.
Review Your Child’s IEP
Usually Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) are written in the spring. Your child’s new teacher this fall may have no idea which learning goals are priorities for the coming year.
Before school starts, read through the IEP to refresh your own memory. Talk over the learning goals with your child, especially those old enough to advocate for themselves. Then make sure each classroom teacher working with your child has a copy and understands the IEP’s intent.
An IEP’s strength lies in the parents’ and teachers’ understanding of it and the active participation in implementing it.
1. The statistics – Students with disabilities are much more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers.
Although only 10 U.S. studies have been conducted on the connection between bullying and developmental disabilities, all of these studies found that children with disabilities were two to three times more likely to be bullied than their nondisabled peers.
2. The impact – Bullying affects a student’s ability to learn.
Many students with disabilities are already addressing challenges in the academic environment. When they are bullied, it can directly impact their education.
Bullying is not a harmless rite of childhood that everyone experiences. Research shows that bullying can negatively impact a child’s access to education and lead to:
- school avoidance and higher rates of absenteeism
- decrease in grades
- inability to concentrate
- loss of interest in academic achievement
- increase in dropout rates
When your child struggles with social and emotional issues, it can be a challenge to talk to him about the issues he faces.
Avoiding the subject isn’t helpful. But helping your child put it in perspective is. The goal is to let your child see himself as someone who struggles with specific things—not with everything.
The first step is to isolate his area of difficulty and name it. This will give him a sense of control over his situation. Use language like, “You’re the kind of person who…” and “You and other kids….” Emphasizing that he’s not the only person who struggles in this area can help him feel less isolated.
As you talk to your child about his social and emotional challenges, here are some good things to keep in mind.
PPCD stands for Preschool Programs for Children with Disabilities. It is important to remember that the second “P” represents “Programs” and not “Place.” PPCD programs are not limited to a self-contained classroom on an elementary or early childhood campus. The law requires a full continuum of services to educate young children with disabilities. Local Education Agencies (school districts and charter schools) offer services to preschoolers with disabilities in a variety of settings based on the child’s individual needs, always considering services in the least restrictive environment (Head Start, Pre-K/Kindergarten general education classroom) first.
My daughter got her first IEP last spring when she was a fifth grader. She started attending middle school this fall and it seems to be taking a long time for the school to line up some of her service providers. Is there anything I can do to help get her IEP going at the beginning of the school year?
Unfortunately, this problem is not uncommon. Schools often have to deal with faculty and staff leaving and new faculty and staff starting. Schedules sometimes change at the last minute. A new school year may also come with shifts in policies and procedures.
All of these changes help explain why it can be challenging to transition your child’s IEP services from year to year—and especially from school to school. These kinds of things can fall through the cracks. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help the transition go as smoothly as possible for your child.
I’m grouping my advice for you in three buckets: what you can do now, what you can do to prepare for next year and how you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
Families of 3- and 4-year-olds in Texas have an option available to them called “Dual Enrollment.” In Texas, children ages 3 and 4 can go to a private preschool and receive services, such as speech therapy, through the public school. As another option, preschoolers may stay home (like many children this age do) and receive needed public school services. Recognizing that many PPCD programs are designed only for students with disabilities, Texas made the decision to allow 3- and 4-year-olds to be dually enrolled to give them more opportunities to interact with their typically developing peers.
Kristina, Kim, Laura and Lisa attended the PTAC conference earlier this month to gear up for the new school year. If you would like more information about the services provided by the Texas Parent Training and Information (PTI) projects, please visit call our state office at 409.898.4684.
Did you miss the Negotiation 101 webinar? Don’t worry, we recorded it just for you! The recording of the Negotiation 101 webinar is available for a limited time!
Kim, Kristina and the PRN specialist team hope you join us tomorrow, August 15, at 12:15 p.m. CST for our next Statewide webinar Negotiation 101: How to Get the Special Education Services Your Child Needs. We will discuss negotiation strategies used to effectively gain appropriate special education services for your child. These strategies can help you become a more successful member of your child’s IEP team!
Register for this webinar at https://partnerstx.webex.com/mw3200/mywebex/default.do?siteurl=partnerstx