Join us Oct. 17 @ 12:15 p.m. CST for our FREE webinar!

Join us on October 17 @ 12:15 p.m. CST for this FREE webinar where we will discuss a key component of your child’s IEP – the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP).

Why is the PLAAFP important?  Think of the IEP as a road map guiding your child from a beginning level of performance to a higher level of performance.  To plan effectively, you need to know where your child is starting out and what obstacles he or she may face along the way. Present levels (PLAAFP) are the starting point for setting IEP goals and measuring progress toward these goals.

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Is My Child Making Progress towards IEP Goals?

By the time “Mrs. Bailey” contacted a professional to evaluate her son, she had been receiving quarterly progress reports from his public school for five years, telling her that Kevin was making progress toward achieving the academic goals listed in his Individualized Education Program (IEP). However, her observations of Kevin’s homework and the graded school work that came home didn’t match the school’s evaluation, and she wanted a psychologist to provide a “second opinion.” The outside evaluation confirmed his mother’s concerns — he had deficits in math calculation and written expression skills. In fact, Kevin’s written expression skills were severely delayed and fell in the first percentile — meaning that 99 percent of students his age performed better on the test. Naturally, Mrs. Bailey felt astonished, frustrated, and guilty about not realizing Kevin’s lack of progress sooner in his schooling.

Parents of children with learning disabilities (LD) who are receiving special education services receive regular reports of progress on their children’s IEP goals, as mandated by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 (IDEA). Often these progress reports don’t really provide parents specific information, based on assessment data, as to whether their child is making progress or not.

There are several key factors that can have a positive impact on determining whether or not a child makes real, measurable progress. These include:

  •  a comprehensive evaluation that identifies a child’s strengths and weaknesses; and appropriately identifies a child’s educational needs
  •  explicitly stated present levels of performance
  •  appropriate and measurable goals/objectives
  •  effective instructional methods, and
  • continuous progress monitoring

Ask a parent how their child’s progress toward goals and objectives is being monitored and reported to them, and most often the response is “I’m not sure” or “I don’t know.” As in Mrs. Bailey’s case, it can be years before parents realize that their child is not making progress — or that the achievement gap between their child and his peers has actually widened while receiving special education services. So, how can you really know if your child is making progress? What should you do if you don’t think your child is “making expected progress” toward IEP goals and objectives?
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Writing IEP Goals

Creating an IEP with a team of people who are all there to design a good educational program for one unique child can be a pleasure. It can also be very productive. When the whole team has the same level of understanding about IEPs, it is even better. Sounds like crazy talk? Just ask those who have seen it happen. The big winner here is the child.

A Lesson in Writing IEP Goals

An IEP is good educational programming. Good IEPs set the standard for good education. Each part of the IEP addresses an important part of educational planning. The IEP team focuses on the unique educational needs of an individual student. The goals reflect the child’s needs. Designing well-formed goals is an important part of writing an IEP.

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Is Your Child’s PLAAFP a Flop? Webinar

Join us on October 17 @ 12:15 p.m. CST for this FREE webinar where we will discuss a key component of your child’s IEP – the Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP).

Why is the PLAAFP important?  Think of the IEP as a road map guiding your child from a beginning level of performance to a higher level of performance.  To plan effectively, you need to know where your child is starting out and what obstacles he or she may face along the way. Present levels (PLAAFP) are the starting point for setting IEP goals and measuring progress toward these goals.

Register at https://partnerstx.webex.com


Identifying Struggling Students

Early and accurate identification of learning disabilities and ADHD in schools can set struggling students on a path for success. But identification can be influenced by many factors—and too often is not happening early enough.

Not all children with learning and attention issues are identified in school as having a disability.

Students who are identified by schools as having a disability may qualify for one of two types of assistance. An Individualized Education Program (IEP) provides specially designed instruction, accommodations, modifications and related services such as speech-language therapy to students who qualify for special education. A 504 plan provides accommodations and related services to general education students who are identified with a disability but who do not need special education.

Students with IEPs or 504 plans are protected from discrimination. Schools are also required to report certain data on students who are identified as having disabilities, such as how many repeat a grade, receive out-of-school suspensions or graduate on time.

But many of the 1 in 5 children with learning and attention issues are not formally identified with a disability. When these children receive the right interventions and informal supports, many can succeed in general education. Without enough support, however, children with unidentified disabilities may not reach their full potential and risk falling behind and having to repeat a grade. This could lead to other problems, including dislike of school, absenteeism and dropping out.

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Is Your PLOP a Flop?

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)

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How do you grade for a student with severe cognitive disabilities who is receiving services in the general education setting?

Considerations for grading students with severe cognitive disabilities are the same as for all students with disabilities.  The focus of IDEA 2004 is to provide all students access to general curriculum. Students should earn grades based on activities for which they are accessing the standards, not based on progress toward goals and objectives. The expectations for what these students should achieve in the grade-level content may be different from what is required in grade-level achievement standards due to needed modifications; however, the essence of the content at grade level should not change.

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