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Tuesday's Tip: Questions You Should Ask AT Your Scholar's IEP Meeting


If I hear just one more time how cute or how polite my son is I may never recover from the screaming meemies that will immediately descend upon me. It is wonderful that you recognize his cuteness but his cuteness will not improve his functional reading skills, or his social competency, or any of the myriad of other challenges he has in order to become a functioning independent adult.

There are two things that a parent absolutely must make sure are included in the IEP for their child and they are: 1) that ALL NEEDS are identified. Some of them may not be directly addressed in the IEP for a variety of reasons, but they must be identified and listed. 2) Base lines are given that are taken without prompts and reflect the child's FUNCTIONAL LEVEL.

I learned this through having an IEP meeting where I knew my son's reading level was pre-primer and they kept insisting it was at a 5th-grade level. Not a small difference! Remember it does not matter where you are. This school was nationally recognized and ranked one of the tops in the country. They still got it wrong and they admitted that his reading level was pre-primer by the end of the IEP meeting.

So every parent should consider the following questions at their IEP and document the school districts response.

  1. What is the specific goal and the language to be used?

  2. What skill needs to be measured to reach mastery in this goal?

  3. Does it address the skill deficit identified in the evaluation report or by the team?

  4. What is the baseline for the goal and the baseline for the skill deficit within the goal? What is normal for his age?

  5. What functional skill will be accomplished by reaching this goal?

  6. What is the splinter skill baseline that is involved in the functional outcome?

  7. What level of progress needs to occur in each marking period to meet the yearly goal (objectives by time)?

  8. Does this goal note independence, endurance, and fluency levels?

  9. What is the intensity of the instruction (teacher), levels of reinforcement (instructional aide), and needs for generalization across environments required to reach this goal? Is that documented?

  10. What research-based programming will be used, why, and is the fidelity of use of this instruction noted in the SDI?

  11. How will we know when they have reached the goal? What will it look like and what evidences are required to confirm it?

  12. Is it reasonably calculated to not underestimate my child's ability (based on the history of previous progress, based on the use of research-based programming used with fidelity, on the intensity of instruction and expertise of the instructor)?

  13. What SDI and SAS are required?4 Are they noted in the IEP?

  14. What is required in order to reach the goal and skill sets within the goal?

  15. What barriers are preventing my child from reaching that goal now?

  16. How are you going to address these barriers?

  17. What are the checkpoints to be? (weekly, daily, monthly data)

  18. How will the data be analyzed?

  19. What equipment, services, and aids are needed to reach this goal? (SAS)

  20. What expertise is required to teach this goal(supports to school personnel)?

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