When it comes to any education, a plan helps. But planning is especially important as it regards teens with learning disabilities. Federal law allows for special planning for teen learning disabilities. This individualized plan, developed for each teen that desires it, is called an Individual Education Plan (IEP). The IEP can be very helpful in charting a course that will help your teen get the help he or she needs in coping with learning disabilities.
What is an IEP?
The individual education plan is the underlying support of your teenager’s learning process. The IEP outlines the teen learning disabilities experienced by your teenager, as well as the steps that will be taken to help your teen overcome the learning disability. Special services and techniques, as well as the professionals involved in helping your teen’s learning development are all outlined in the IEP. The individual education plan will serve as a guidepost, helping everyone involved make the best possible decisions regarding your teen’s learning.
The IEP process
When developing an individual education plan for your teenager’s learning disability, you will go through an entire process. Luckily, you will not go through it alone. You will work closely with professionals and your teen’s teachers to create the plan and use it to help guide your teenager’s progress throughout the school year (a new IEP is usually created each year). You should ask as many questions as you can so that you fully understand the process. Additionally, if you and your teen prefer, it is even possible for your teenager to take an active part in planning the IEP. This can be beneficial to him or her, as it can foster a greater feeling of ownership, as well as control, in the process of overcoming the teen learning disability.
The two main parts of the IEP process are:
- IEP meetings. These are meant to help decide on an individual educational plan, as well as track progress. The first IEP meeting is where the basic services and techniques are decided on, as well as the main course of action. The plan can be adjusted through the periodic IEP meetings throughout the school year. Teachers and counselors should meet with you and your teenager (if desired) to figure out a course of action.
- The IEP document. An IEP document is the written version of the decisions made as to how to best help with the teen learning disability. This document is often created in stages, going through different sections to create the plan.
After the IEP
When the individual education plan is completed, it should be used by parents, teachers and others involved to get the proper services and help to the teenager to help with the learning disability. The IEP should guide education decisions for the teen with learning disabilities. An evaluation must take place at least once a year to see if another IEP needs to be created, or if your teen is making satisfactory progress and no longer needs special attention. Even if the latter decision is reached, however, teens with learning disabilities often need a little extra help. So, while an official IEP may not be warranted, extra sessions with a teacher or counselor may be in order to help keep your teenager on track.
Individual Education Plan IEP Sources:
- “Developing Your Child’s IEP,” LD Online. [Online.]