People with disabilities have particular needs when it comes to education. This fact necessitated the legislation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The IDEA Act is a law that enables the provision of appropriate education to all children living with disabilities (Kauffman et al., 2018). It also assumes that the learning environment, curriculum content, IEP team collaboration, and instructional planning and strategies are respected (Musu-Gillette et al., 2018).
The least restrictive environment (LRE) mandates that children with special needs need limiting within their learning environments where they interact with their peers unless separating them is necessary (Lieberman et al., 2017). Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) gives the right to education to all students with disabilities in the United States. The IDEA Act promotes access to this right by ensuring that educational and related services are available for them. To ensure key components of FAPE, a special education teacher and the IEP team develop an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for each student with a disability.
The IEP Team
In implementing the Individualized Education Program (IEP), stakeholders must work together to receive better outcomes. Since the IEP has to be detailed, teachers, parents, school administrators, and students collaborate to improve the learning outcomes for these children (Musu-Gillette et al., 2018). This collaboration is significant in making the learning experience for the children with disabilities catered to their individual needs. According to Zigmond and Kloo (2017), the IEP team is essential as it enables the creation and implementation of the IEP protocol.
McFarland et al. (2019) note that students are only partially involved in the process when necessary as stakeholders in the IEP program development and implementation. The IEP team includes representatives from the school district, the child, instructors with special and general needs, school administrators, other non-teaching staff, and parents. School administrators, teachers, and parents must participate in the IEP program and contribute to decision-making for attendance. As an optional consideration, the student is not a critical part of the IEP curriculum development.
Parents and their disabled children are at the center of IEP implementation as the primary stakeholders. Parents can observe the child’s strengths, weaknesses, talents while at home and note their areas of need. This information is critical in enhancing the child’s educational needs. Therefore, a parents’ role in the decision-making process concerning a child’s education is essential and timely. According to Howard et al. (2021), the student is critical in the transition stage of the IEP program, an act that enables them to voice their concerns over their education and further allows them to initiate self-advocacy initiatives. Therefore the students’ presence and needs are critical to the process for the effective implementation of the program.
Ethical Principles and Professional Practice Standards of the CECs
The CEC considers several ethical responsibilities that an effective IEP team must consider when executing their mandates. According to Royer (2017), the CEC’s ethical principles of interest must consider the learners’ dignity, truthfulness, fairness, responsibility, and also the student’s freedom. Therefore, instructions established in consideration of ethics are responsible for defining the IEP team member’s interrelationship and connectedness. In addition, the IEP must be carried out according to established standards to avoid disputes due process. Professional practice standard safeguards the rights of special needs children (Burke et al., 2021). The practice standard provides the enforceable exigencies and mechanisms that protect the rights of teachers, students, and schools.
The IEP Process
The IEP process revolves around making joint decisions related to the best long-term approach to ensuring better educational outcomes in a given student. This is why the process involves all relevant stakeholders – first and foremost, the student’s parents (Cavendish, Connor, & Rediker, 2017). The process serves to identify the needs of a given student more precisely and guide the joint effort toward the development of the program that better addresses individualized educational needs. As such, it should also be a vehicle for resolving the possible differences between the parents and the educators regarding the given child’s needs.
A successful and effective IEP implementation that promotes the intended outcomes requires proper steps to be completed before, during, and after the meeting. Before the meeting, it may take time to collect the necessary information about the ward, and the time after the meeting involves working directly with the child. During the meeting, the IEP team members work together; their goals are to ensure that, based on the current level of performance, to ensure the achievement of academic objectives for the student. It is during this stage that the aforementioned engagement of all involved stakeholders becomes particularly crucial (Cavendish, Connor, & Rediker, 2017).
After the meeting, it is time for implementation – revising the parts of the IEP that need it, updating the instructional schedule, and distributing the new IEP to education providers. Since tracking is essential for evaluating the efficiency of the IEP decided upon, one should also update data tracking systems after the meeting to account for the changes made.
Key Components of IEP and Legal, Ethical, and Policy Responsibilities in Developing IEPs
The key components of an IEP are directly relevant for assessing the situation and preparing a plan. An effective IEP must include critical information about the learner and the educational program. Several strategic insights considered during IEP development include the present achievements, annual targets, remedial and special education, complementary services, and the changeover needs of the juvenile. According to Cavendish et al. (2017), the transition starts when the child is aged 14 years, and it seeks to establish the youngsters’ future schooling and post-schooling experience. Besides, the categorization of annual goals as short and long-term achievable targets that are in tune with their academic, social, and behavioral needs (Jamerson, 2021). When establishing a students’ current performance in school, their results from classroom tests and assignments are applied. Ultimately, the child’s needs should be in consideration and should include appropriate supplementary services.
Based on the demands of disabled students, the legal statutes call for the IEP team to acknowledge several factors. According to McFarland et al. (2019), if the child’s behavior interferes with his and others’ effective learning, the law requires the IEP team to consider addressing the behavior. In other observations, children with limited English language abilities expected training in linguistics to enhance their educational needs (Cavendish, Connor, & Rediker, 2017). According to Jamerson (2021), for children with hearing and talking disabilities, the IEP team has to consider the learners’ needs and contemplate the patients’ assistive technological needs for better educational outcomes. The medical services for students and their families should also be easily accessible and readily available.
Several results stick out that teachers can utilize when implementing the IEP process. The role of communication between the home and the school stood out to be important as parents can easily share the student’s concerns at home with teachers in schools for an effective IEP. The second relevant observation was teamwork, where the IEP team works closely in collaboration. Since every person in the team has a role to play, it is interesting that every individual involved should do it effectively. Finally, while implementing the IEP, leadership is essential as it aids in allowing for proper coordination and monitoring of the relevant activities. Besides, the IEP process should consider the law and policies in developing and implementing the program to ensure better outcomes.
Burke, M., Rossetti, Z., & Li, C. (2021). The efficacy and impact of a special education legislative advocacy program among parents of children with disabilities. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 1-9. Web.
Cavendish, W., Connor, D. J., & Rediker, E. (2017). Engaging students and parents in transition-focused individualized education programs. Intervention in School and Clinic, 52(4), 228-235. Web.
Howard, M., Reed, A. S., & Francis, G. L. (2021). “It’s My Meeting!” Involving High School Students with Significant Disabilities in the Individualized Education Program Process. Teaching Exceptional Children, 53(4), 290-298. Web.
Jamerson, J. A. L. (2021). Special Education Students’ Use of Accommodations as Aligned within Individualized Education Program (Doctoral dissertation, Wilmington University Delaware).
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Lieberman, L. J., Cavanaugh, L., Haegele, J. A., Aiello, R., & Wilson, W. J. (2017). The modified physical education class: An option for the least restrictive environment. Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 88(7), 10-16. Web.
McFarland, J., Hussar, B., Zhang, J., Wang, X., Wang, K., Hein, S. & Barmer, A. (2019). The Condition of Education 2019. NCES 2019-144. National Center for Education Statistics.
Musu-Gillette, L., De Brey, C., McFarland, J., Hussar, W., Sonnenberg, W., & Wilkinson-Flicker, S. (2017). Status and Trends in the Education of Racial and Ethnic Groups 2017. NCES 2017-051. National Center for Education Statistics.
Royer, D. J. (2017). My IEP: A student-directed individualized education program model. Exceptionality, 25(4), 235-252. Web.
Zigmond, N. P., & Kloo, A. (2017). General and special education are (and should be) different. In Handbook of special education (pp. 249-261). Routledge.