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The key to getting more services out of an IEP is to use the order of the IEP to your advantage. If you want more services, you have to start at the beginning – at Present Levels – to establish the need. Then, you follow along the IEP to add goals and specially designed instruction. If that substantiates the need, the services should fall into place. In this episode I explain this strategy to getting more services in an IEP in detail and give a few common examples.
Do you feel like your child’s IEP lacks services that would benefit your child? Have you asked for additional services when you get to that time in the IEP meeting, only to be denied? I’ll let you in on a secret— the timing of your request may be the problem. All too often parents ask for services at the wrong time during an IEP meeting. Let me explain.
The IEP document should be reviewed in order. Present Levels of Performance describe the child’s current performance and establish a need. Once the need is established, the team writes goals. Then, the team discusses how the child will be taught in order to make progress toward those goals. We call this “specially designed instruction,” because the strategies are designed especially with that child in mind. Then, the team looks at how the child’s progress will be monitored. Finally, the services are considered. If the Present Levels don’t establish a need for goals— if the Goals don’t establish a need for specially designed instruction — if the SDI doesn’t mandate more services — you guessed it— the child doesn’t get additional services.
So, if you’re looking for your child to get more time in special education, establish the need in the Present Levels. Then, write goals for that need. Thoughtfully consider and describe the specially designed instruction, considering how that instruction might change the services. Then, when you arrive at the discussion about the services, you’ll be positioned to make an argument for more or differently defined services.
In today’s episode I’ll walk you through this approach in more detail and provide a few common examples. We’ll also briefly discuss the opposite strategy, which involves considering less services in order to increase time in the general education environment, a really nuanced and argument. Finally, we’ll discuss some common pitfalls in this strategy, as well as solutions to them.
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