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Common IEP Mistakes To Avoid

Having a smooth and productive IEP meeting takes years of experience.

As you gain knowledge of the IEP process, it's only natural that you will get better at it. So, as you plan, prepare, and execute the tasks necessary for a successful IEP meeting, here are some tips on avoiding mistakes.

The Planning Process

In preparation for an IEP meeting, it's important to recognize and avoid certain errors.

For example, a procedural error to avoid is predetermining a student's placement. This is when someone on the IEP team decides everything before having the formal IEP meeting. This is bad, mainly because it fails to involve parents in decision-making. The school and special education professionals are free to discuss IEP goals; however, for a formal decision to be made, the student's parents must be able to voice their concerns and opinions.

Additionally, a substantive error to avoid is a lack of complete evaluation. What does this mean? A complete and individualized evaluation addresses the student's needs—even if it's not directly related to their disability. For example, any physical impediments like bad vision or hearing loss are important to note because they might contribute to poor academic performance.

The Development of IEP

An IEP meeting aims to determine the type of special education a student will receive. 

This is a collaborative effort between many people—from parents to licensed professionals and school administrators—and errors should be avoided at all costs.

A procedural error that needs to be avoided is not including required IEP components. Each IEP component forms an individualized program catered for the student. If there are missing components, the IEP isn't going to be successful.

Furthermore, in developing an IEP, one substantive error to avoid is the lack of measurable annual goals. And not only should they be measurable, IDEA requires that in creating IEP goals, the IEP team should ensure that each goal is ambitious and challenging. This way, it can be easier to determine whether or not the goal was truly met.

Another important error to avoid is not providing all the special education services a student needs. The purpose of listing all services is so that all educational needs can be met. Failing to do this will result in little to no success and progress. 

The Implementation

After each goal is discussed, it's not important to ensure that IEP goals are implemented.

One error to avoid is not monitoring the student's progress. You need to monitor the progress to know if the student is actively working towards the goal. When goals are monitored properly, accurate assessments can be made.

Also, it's important to implement special education services as they have been agreed upon. Why is this necessary? Because changing any aspect of the IEP could greatly impact the efficacy of the service.

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