Incorporating Parental Input in Individualized Education Programs

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  • 0:04 What Is an IEP?
  • 1:07 Parents and the IEP
  • 2:45 Understanding Parents
  • 4:33 Incorporating Parental Input
  • 6:05 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde
When developing a students' Individual Education Program, or IEP, educators must consider parental feedback. This lesson describes methods of involving parents in the IEP process and gives examples of ways teachers can foster parental involvement.

What Is an IEP?

Earlier in the year, David was identified as a student who consistently struggles with learning. His teacher, Ms. Black, initiated a screening process to determine if David qualified for special services. After a series of tests, a team of professionals and David's parents met to talk about his strengths and struggles and to make decisions concerning his academic future. The screening, testing, and meeting are part of a legal process to ensure that all students receive an equal and quality education, even if they have special needs, like David.

Because his screening results and academic history qualify David for special services, an individualized education program (IEP) is created. This document serves as a guide for David's education. Created during the initial IEP meeting by a committee of professionals, including his parents and others knowledgeable of David's abilities, such as teachers and therapists, the document is a lawful plan. Let's focus on the vital role parents play in the development of the IEP.

Parents and the IEP

In 1975, a law called the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), was passed. IDEA is the legal process that ensures disabled students, like David, receive educational services appropriate for their needs.

Part of IDEA establishes the rights and responsibilities of parents as important members of the IEP committee. Parents are viewed as a vital part of the process, and schools are required to give parents an active role in decisions regarding their child's services as written in the IEP.

Let's return to David's situation. David's parents are intimidated by this process at first, but after doing a bit of research they find that there are many benefits to their involvement in David's IEP, including:

  • Parents' background knowledge of their child gives the committee valuable insight
  • Educators get a glimpse into the child's home life
  • A team atmosphere is generated
  • Increased communication among the IEP team is established
  • Educational goals that include all aspects of the child's development can be written

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