FAMILY TIPSHEET: How to be involved in your IEP

birds

Please note: The information provided is for reference only. It is not intended as a recommendation or endorsement of organizations, or as a comprehensive resource list. Third party information does not imply endorsement by Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital.

Hi! My name is William Murrill and I am a volunteer through the Bloorview Youth@Work program. The process of creating an IEP (Individual Education Plan) is quite complicated, and it is sometimes hard to tell where and when to start being effectively involved. Below are some online resources that may help you and your parents get started and understand the process, as well as five tips on how to get the most use out of your IEP created by interviewing fellow volunteers and parents who have been involved in the process themselves.

Title of Resource

Website

Accommodations and Modifications: Jacki Oxley

Special Education

Having Your Child Identified as a Special Needs Student: Centre for ADHD Awareness, Canada

http://www.caddac.ca/cms/page.php?48

Individual Education Plan (IEP): Toronto District School Board (TDSB)

http://www.tdsb.on.ca/portals/0/EarlyYears/SpecialEducation/IEP.pdf

The Ontario Special Needs Roadmap for School: Special Needs Roadmaps

http://www.specialneedsroadmaps.ca/download-roadmap/

FIVE TIPS FOR YOUR IEP

  1. Advocate for yourself during the IEP process.  Get started advocating for yourself right away as soon as you are at an age when you can articulate your needs. In a public school, be a part of the Individual Review and Placement Committee (IPRC) meeting to participate in the IEP’s development. By being there yourself, you can best express what you need. Do not be afraid to write to the school about the accommodations you need, and get into the habit of doing this yourself. The IEP is at its best when it is an extension of your personal thoughts and opinions on what you need to succeed. It is important to constantly be involved in this process since parental involvement might change over time. Also once you are in Post-Secondary education (e.g. university of college), nothing will be given to you unless you ask.
  2. Make sure that your accommodations are what you need.  Ideally, the IEP should provide sufficient personal supports you need as well as small adjustments that best allow you to complete your work (i.e. extended time on tests, access to a quiet room when there is too much noise, etc.). Only you know the accommodations you need. Do not be afraid to reflect on the effectiveness of those accommodations and re-evaluate the IEP every school year.
  3. Advocate for yourself even after the IEP is done. Teachers might have to be frequently reminded about your accommodations. Be willing to advocate for yourself in the moment by requesting for those accommodations to be followed if they are not being delivered. For example, there might be a lot of loud noise in a test taking environment, so you can ask if you can have a quiet room to yourself during tests. Know your rights and be willing to assert yourself.
  4. Work through revising accommodations that no longer work and updating the IEP over time. Be willing to let go of accommodations that are outdated or redundant. Regularly updating the IEP will ensure that you are getting all the proper accommodations you need – no more and no less. Review your learning goals to get an impression of your personal growth. Be persistent and push for what you believe in. The IEP is a “WIP” – a Work In Progress!
  5. You can work with a school principal, guidance counsellor, and/or teacher to help make the IEP process easier. Be there at parent teacher interviews to help clarify if your needs are being met. The IEP is a collaborative process.

 

Created by William Murrill, Youth@Work student in August 2016
Last updated by Amina Aumeer, Family Resouce Centre volunteer in July 2018