Reaching your child's IEP goals
As a parent of a child with special needs, you are a key member of your child's Special Education Team. You play an essential role in the creation of their IEP. The Special Education Team is responsible for:
- Seeing if your child is eligible for special education and related services
- Creating an Individualized Education Program (IEP) tailored to your child's specific needs
- Monitoring your child's progress toward achieving their Annual Goals as specified in the IEP
The school or district cannot change your child’s IEP without first notifying you and getting your consent. Though an IEP is created with annual goals in mind, the Federal special education law, called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA 2004), requires that objectives and/or benchmarks be included in your child's IEP. Benchmarks and objectives mark milestones in your child's progress toward reaching their goals. They should be specific and provide measurable data to best evaluate your child's progress.
But how do I know if progress is being made?
While IDEA 2004 does not specify the number of progress reports a parent or guardian should get during the school year, it does specify that parents "must receive a progress report as often as all children in the school district receive report cards or other school-wide progress reports" and that an IEP must "include when periodic progress reports will be provided". If you would like to get progress reports more often, you can ask your child's special education teacher, director of special services, or principal and put the request in writing. Though IEP Team meetings are scheduled once a year, you can request to meet with the team at any point in the school year to make a change to your child's IEP.
Please note, if the district is evaluating your child, you have the right to get all special education evaluation reports two days prior to an IEP Team meeting; however, you must ask the school for copies of these reports in order to get them ahead of time.
Read “A Parent's Guide to Special Education Massachusetts” or the Massachusetts Department of Education’s website for more information on IEPs.
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