Comments that Parents Hear: “I have used up all the time allotted on the IEP, therefore I am now only visiting your son as a favor which is why I make unscheduled visits to his class…”

Unfortunately, parents at times realize that they are not sure of the amount of services that their child is receiving or other aspects of the delivery of related services. Recently, a parent wrote that they just learned that a COTA (Certified Occupational Therapist Assistant) rather than an OT was working with their child.

“I have used up all the time allotted on the IEP, therefore I am now only visiting your son as a favor which is why I make unscheduled visits to his class. Oh, you misunderstood, I meant that the minutes on the IEP are minimum minutes, but I don’t understand the district’s six day schedule, and my schedule is such that I cannot make scheduled visits to your child.”

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Comments that Parents Hear: “We have held __ IEP meetings this year. Your child is progressing with the current IEP, so we do not need another meeting.”

Recall the Law

The IEP must include “a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided to enable the child— (i) To advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals;  (ii) To be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum in accordance with paragraph (a)(1) of this section, and to participate in extracurricular and other nonacademic activities;”  300.320(a)(4)

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Comments that Parents Hear: “Your Child is Making Good Progress”

What can you do if the school appears unwilling and/or unable to create a program or services to prevent your child from falling further behind or to narrow the gap with his or her peers?  The school may say “Your child is making good progress” or “Your child is making passing grades”.

Recall the Law

An individualized education program “must include … A statement of measurable annual goals, including academic and functional goals designed to— (A) Meet the child’s needs that result from the child’s disability to enable the child to be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum; and  (B) Meet each of the child’s other educational needs that result from the child’s disability; … (4) A statement of the special education and related services and supplementary aids and services, based on peer-reviewed research to the extent practicable, to be provided to the child, or on behalf of the child, and a statement of the program modifications or supports for school personnel that will be provided to enable the child— (i) To advance appropriately toward attaining the annual goals;  (ii) To be involved in and make progress in the general education curriculum”.  300.320(a)(2)(i)

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Comments that Parents Hear: We will measure this goal by “teacher observation”.

Thursdays on the blog, Chuck Noe will be sharing posts from his Comments that Parents Hear series.  Chuck will be checking in throughout the week to respond to your comments and questions…

Recall the Law

” Sec.  300.320  Definition of individualized education program.

(a) General.  As used in this part, the term individualized education program or IEP means a written statement for each child with a disability that is developed, reviewed, and revised in a meeting in accordance with Sec. Sec.  300.320 through 300.324, and that must include– …  (3) A description of–

(i) How the child’s progress toward meeting the annual goals described in paragraph (2) of this section will be measured; and

(ii) When periodic reports on the progress the child is making toward meeting the annual goals (such as through the use of quarterly or other periodic reports, concurrent with the issuance of report cards) will be provided;”.

The Response

The law does not list any specific methods of measuring progress.  Teacher observation is one way to measure progress but it can be very subjective, which Webster defines as “placing an emphasis on one’s own moods, attitudes and opinions”.  An example of subjective teacher observation might be “I think Johnny has a better attitude today” or “I think Janie’s handwriting has improved”.  Although it might be important to have the teacher’s observations as PART of the measure of progress, you will probably need additional “objective” information.  Webster dictionary defines “objective” as “not influenced by personal feelings or prejudice, unbiased.”  “Objective” measurement might look like this: “I know Johnny is making progress toward demonstrating a positive attitude in the classroom because he made eye contact with me 4 times today, raised his hand and asked 2 questions,“ etc. or “Let’s look at Janie’s handwriting work samples over the last 3 weeks to determine what progress she has made in writing legibly”.

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