IEP FAQs: Scribe on the IEP – for Math?

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If a student has scribe on his IEP for all subjects, is he supposed to have a scribe in math also? I was told “no” by a school administrator. I’m confused.

If the IEP says a scribe in all subjects, that means all subjects. Math is a subject. You need to write a short letter to the principal documenting what the IEP says. Tell him that you are confused about his statement that math is not a subject, and to please explain why he does not allow the student to have a scribe in math.

The IEP is a plan that lays out the individualized program of instruction a child requires, based on his unique needs. If the IEP team determined that a child needed a scribe in all subjects, then he should have a scribe in all subjects.

If this is not happening, you need to document the problem and your concerns in writing or nothing will happen to correct it.

A word of caution! Do the child’s unique needs require a scribe in all classes? Or is the real question whether the school should be teaching the child to read and write?

Consider this question from another parent.

My child has a 504 Plan. She is supposed to have a scribe and a reader for classroom assignments and tests. Can she also have a scribe and a reader when she takes the Graduation Qualifying Examination (GQE)?

Denying the accommodations and modifications that will allow a child equal access to an education is a denial of the child’s right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE).

But the need for a reader and a scribe tells us this child cannot read or write well enough to take the GQE without accommodations.

With a reader and a scribe, she may pass the GQE. She may earn a high school diploma. But, will she read and write well enough to live on her own and earn a living?

Schools often suggest readers and scribes for children who do not read or write well. This is appropriate as long as the school also provides reading and writing instruction. Too often, schools provide accommodations instead of special instruction.

This child needs special instruction. That is the battle this parent must fight.

Modification, adaptations, and accommodations do not provide unfair advantages. They should not make things easier for a child. They should level the playing field for a child. They allow a child with a disability to learn the same things as his non-disabled peers.

Read a new article on Wrightslaw by Indiana Advocate Pat Howey, who writes the “Ask the Advocate” series. Pat explains that instruction and accommodations, modifications and adaptations go hand in hand. They accompany each other. They do not replace instruction.

Find out more about accommodations and modifications.

Will a 504 Plan Provide a Scribe & Reader for GQE Testing?

  1. This may be a time to use letters to define and perhaps move toward a solution to a problem. By sending a letter to the school administrator, asking the “I’m confused. It seemed you were saying that math is not a subject. etc” question on paper and politely requiring a response in writing, you can prompt an administrator to look at his/her actions a bit more carefully. Be sure you follow the “Letter to a Stranger” guidelines. Be “pleasantly persistent:. Follow up within a week or ten days if you do not get a response. Allow the school to save face if you are assured that there must have been some misunderstanding, of course your child will receiving scribe services in math. Write a thank you letter. Letters not only document interactions, they cannot lose control and say something they regret.

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