The Individualized Education Plan (IEP)
An Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is designed to help teachers work with or otherwise help a child cope in the classroom. IEP’s are commonly used tools for kids with learning disabilities, autism, mild intellectual disabilities, and other conditions which may hinder their ability to keep up with the regular pace of the classroom or the work.
Even with a formal Psychological-Education assessment (Psycho-Ed), there is neither funding nor services for most struggling kids and those with learning disabilities. Only the most severe disabilities, or those with Autism Funding, can usually access help. Read more about the BC Ministry of Education Special Education Resources but you’ll find that there is not much help beyond an Individualized Education Plan.
An IEP is a written document designed by the school team to modify the child’s curriculum. We see a lot of IEPs.
- The rest of the class learns 20 spelling words each week but the child with learning disabilities on an IEP only needs to learn 5 words. Realize, he is falling behind by 15 words every week!
- One boy with learning disabilities was horrified because his classmates had to learn the names of all nine planets (including Pluto) and he only had to learn five. He recognized that he should know the names of all of them.
- They are provided with technologies that will read to them and so are not required to read at all. If it takes a typical 5th Grader one year to improve reading to the 6th Grade level, how is this child ever supposed to develop this skill?
- Kids with learning disabilities will be allowed to use a calculator instead of learning how to divide. Unfortunately, in my experience, they then don’t even understand what division is and why you would do it. With the calculator it is merely a clerical task without meaning.
- These children are often provided with a scribe. Without the requirement of writing, they are no longer developing this important skill at all! And I’m not just talking about printing and handwriting (which are both very important!) but also the skill of composing stories and reports.
An IEP is not a solution to your child’s learning problems. It can be useful as a bridge while your child is going through the programs that will actually correct the learning barriers but don’t neglect to address the real problems rather than just coping with the symptoms.
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