Dive in and mark it up
Your child’s Individualized Educational Program (IEP) belongs to you as a member of the ARD/IEP team. You have a right to understand it, but it may take some work. Don’t be shy—use a highlighter, post-it notes or whatever you need to take notes and mark up important sections. This overview covers four of the most important parts of the IEP.
1. The Eligibility Section
This is usually on the front page and explains why your child qualifies for special education. Make sure you agree with the disability category selected. Provide any additional information the school may need or ask questions if you do not understand the disability category.
2. The PLAAFP Section
PLAAFP stands for Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance. It is sometimes referred to as “Present Levels.” This may be the most important part of the IEP because it tells you how the school assesses your child’s skills. The PLAAFP will focus on your child’s needs to help direct his learning. The rest of the IEP is based on this section, so it’s important that you understand and agree with it.
3. The Goals Section
The goals outlined are what your child will work on during the school year. Make sure you are able to read these goals and understand what your child will be learning and how his progress will be measured. Highlight any goals that you don’t understand. If you need more information ask your team, “Can you show me what this looks like at school and at home?”
4. The Accommodations / Modifications Section
This is where you will find things like preferred seating, movement breaks, communication devices, and any adaptations your child might need for holding a paintbrush or pencil. Make sure you understand any recommended accommodations and modifications listed, and speak up if you think your child needs others that are not listed.
Check out Developing Your Child’s IEP, an in-depth guide for the IEP process.
Also be sure to read these related articles on this site:
Special Education: The Referral and Evaluation Process
The ARD Committee and Your Child’s IEP
Preparing for the Special Education Evaluation
Individualized Education Program Annual Goals
Who Is on Your Child’s ARD Committee?
4 Tips to Prepare for your first ARD meeting
Present Levels of Academic Achievement and Functional Performance (PLAAFP)