Are you making some of the most common IEP mistakes? Almost every district professional development meeting I’ve been to in the last few years has focused on what to write in the IEP. If you’re just starting out in a school job, what they don’t tell you is what NOT to write in an IEP. And what not to write, is just as important as what you should write!
I’m so excited to focus on energy in 2016-2017 on creating content for people who are new the school SLP position. I’m doing that here on the blog and in my Facebook live video posts. If you’re enjoying posts like these, and are new to a school job, you can learn even more through an online video course. SLPs starting their Clinical Fellowship can enroll in CF 101 where I’ll help you get started with your school CFY with videos, paperwork, and practical strategies to have a successful CF. If you’re an experienced clinician who is switching to a school job, check out School SLP 101. You can earn .3 CEUs while you watch 70+ online videos that will help you navigate a new position.
The biggest mistake I see in IEPs is when professionals list very specific programs or devices, rather than describing the systems or device. The IEP should have a description of the device and not a specific program named. This most often seen for SLPs in the area of assistive technology.
Let’s take a look at an example:
What NOT to do:
Here, I listed the app and name of the tablet as the program.
I listed a description instead of the actual app name. I also included the focus on those AT services and not just the device!
The second problem I frequently see in IEPs is the over-use of accommodations. Accommodations listed in the IEP should be accommodations that are actually needed. I often see every accommodation available listed but we should be more specific about what the student actually needs. You can ask the classroom teacher and anyone else who works with the student which things they regularly do. You might also add a few things you plan to implement this year. Just don’t copy/paste your whole list of accommodations.
Does the child use and need every single accommodation on this list (from Wright’s Law)
Provide alternative books with similar concepts, but at an easier reading level. • Provide audiotapes of textbooks and have the student follow the text while listening. • Provide summaries of chapters. • Provide interesting reading material at or slightly above the student’s comfortable reading level. • Use peer readers. • Use marker to highlight important textbook sections. • Use word-for-word sentence fill-ins. • Provide two sets of textbooks, one for home and one for school. • Use index cards to record major themes. • Provide the student with a list of discussion questions before reading the material. • Give page numbers to help the student find answers. • Provide books and other written materials in alternative formats such as Braille or large print.
That’s just the list for books! You shouldn’t have 50 accommodations listed. List only the ones student really need and teachers will actually implement because you want to reflect what the student actually needs.
If you’re new to a school setting and looking for more essential tips to have a successful year, visit SchoolSLP101.com and learn more about the School SLP 101 course. Enrollment will only be open until August 31, 2016. Grab your seat before the school year starts!
What other common mistakes do you see made in IEPs regularly? Leave me a comment or reach out on social media and let me know!
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