The Special Ed Advocate Newsletter
May 9, 2001

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Issue: 112
ISSN: 1538-3202

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1. IEP Articles and Resources 

We are moving into IEP season. Every week, we receive dozens of questions about IEPs. If you want to learn about IEPs, read these articles. When you master this information, you will be prepared for the next IEP meeting!

Your Child's IEP: Practical and Legal Guidance (Companion article to "Understanding Tests and Measurements") 

The goals and objectives in your child's IEP should be based on your child's present levels of performance. What are your child's present levels of performance? What were your child's present levels of performance when the last IEP was written? 

Your Child's IEP is a comprehensive article that describes IEPs and the IEP process. You will learn about:  

Present levels of performance  Is IEP Adequate? Is the IEP Sufficient?
 Measurable goals and objectives Educational Benefit and FAPE
 How to Measure Educational Progress  A Valuable Tool: Appendix A
Objective Testing v. Subjective Observations Understanding the Parental Role
Passing Grades and Grade Inflation  Sample IEP Goals

Before you can develop an IEP for your child, you and the IEP team need answers to questions. On objective testing, where were your child's skills at the beginning of  the year? On objective testing, where are your child's skills now? 

Is your child making progress? Is your child falling further behind? Is your child receiving educational benefit from the current special education program? How do you answer these questions? You will find answers in your child's test scores -- standard scores, percentile ranks, subtest scores, and age and grade equivalent scores. 

If you want to learn how to write appropriate IEP goals and objectives, you need to learn how to interpret educational and psychological test scores. Download and print "Understanding Tests and Measurements."

Expect to read this article three times. NOTE: To ensure that you get the graphics in this article, you may want to print the article from the screen (rather than download it).

As you read "Your Child's IEP" and "Understanding Tests and Measurements," you will learn how to write measurable IEP goals and objectives. You will also learn how to avoid vague, meaningless goals and objectives found in many IEPs (i.e., "80% success on teacher made tests") 

2. IEPS: Tactics & Strategies 

IEP Goals and Objectives 

What can parents do to get good goals and objectives in their child's IEP? What can parents do when the school proposes to use subjective "teacher observations," not objective testing, to measure the child's progress? When should parents use a consultant to help develop IEP goals and objectives? How can parents avoid "methodology disputes?" 

Pete answers questions about how to use tactics and strategies in IEPs

How to Use Follow-Up Letters 

Advice from parent advocate Pat Howey about how to get the IEP team to answer your questions, avoid power struggles, deal with IEP meeting frustrations, and use your power wisely.

3. Letter to Wrightslaw:
"How Can I Get an Appropriate Program for my Child?"

Kate writes: "My son was placed in special education in second grade - he is now in fifth grade. When he entered special education, his reading level was 1.3. After 30 months of special education, his reading level is 2.3. He is falling further behind, not closing the gap." 

"I requested that the school use a program that is structured, systematic, sequential, repetitive and phonologically based. The school insists that their generic program (where he made 12 months of "progress" in 30 months) is fine. How can I get them to provide an appropriate program? 

Read our answer to Kate

4. IEPS: Legal Resources 

Appendix A: A Valuable Tool 

Appendix A to the federal regulations includes 40 Questions and Answers about IEPs. Appendix A will answer many of your questions about IEP goals, objectives, and benchmarks, IEP meetings and IEP team members, the parental role, transition, and other important issues. 

When you read Appendix A, use a highlighter or sticky notes to mark important information. Before your next IEP meeting, re-read Appendix A. 

If you ask for a service or support and the school says "We can't do that," the issue may be covered in Appendix A. Appendix A can help you resolve IEP problems before they get out of hand. 

Download a FREE copy of Appendix A from Wrightslaw.

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law 

The federal laws, regulations, and Appendix A about IEPs are in our book, Wrightslaw: Special Education Law

IEP Caselaw 

Here are links to three good cases about appropriate IEPs.

Kanawha v. Michael M. In this case about an appropriate program for a child with autism, the court analyzed "appropriate" in the context of the Rowley decision, discussed educational benefit, and provided guidelines about an appropriate IEP. 

Kanawha v. Michael M is one of Pete's favorite cases "not because it has great precedence, but because it does an excellent job of describing difficulties in the legal definition of "appropriate" and how to use "appropriate" in developing an IEP. 

Evans v. Rhinebeck. Evans v. Rhinebeck is a New York tuition reimbursement case that discusses components of an appropriate IEP for a child with dyslexia. 

T. H. v. Palatine T. H. v. Palatine focuses on an appropriate program for a young child with autism, and includes a good discussion off vague subjective IEP goals and objectives. 

5. Good Books About IEPs =

"Where can I learn to write good IEP goals and objectives?" 

Preparing Instructional Objectives by Robert Mager. In the best selling book on this subject, Dr. Mager teaches you how to write clear measurable IEP goals and objectives. 

Preparing Instructional Objectives will help you master the essential elements of writing a well-stated objective, how to describe the performances you expect to achieve, identify the conditions under which you expect the performance to occur, and set criteria for acceptable performance

The Complete IEP Guide: How to Advocate for Your Special Needs Child by Lawrence Siegel.

Wrightslaw: Special Education Law by Peter W. D. Wright and Pamela Darr Wright.


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Wrightslaw: Special Education Legal Developments and Cases 2019, by Pam and Pete Wright
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Wrightslaw: Special Education Law, 2nd Edition, by Pam and Pete Wright
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Wrightslaw: All About IEPs
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Wrightslaw: All About Tests and Assessments
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Surviving Due Process: Stephen Jeffers v. School Board
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