Showing students their IEPs?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by Jerry Dill, Apr 4, 2017.

  1. Jerry Dill

    Jerry Dill Companion

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    I haven't taught for that long at the high school level (mostly at the college level), so I have not had many students with IEPs earlier in my career. This semester, I have a couple students with IEPs. Both of the students seem confused about what is stated in their IEPs, and I would like to show them their IEPs to straighten out their confusions. I foresee a couple possible problems, however.

    1. The junior boy with an IEP has more significant restrictions and modifications in his plan. The doctor who diagnosed him wrote about how he has anger management difficulties and can be easily distracted and angered. Would this type of description be too off-putting or even traumatizing to the junior boy to hear? He is easily angered, so I think the doctor is right about that problem.

    2. In the junior boy's IEP, the doctor also recommends that he be given breaks during his classes since he cannot concentrate. The boy already takes 2-4 breaks per class, and I am trying to bring his breaks down to 1 per class. The doctor in the IEP does not specify how many breaks the boy is allowed. Will this ambiguity give the boy ideas that he can take as many breaks as he wants?

    3. The sophomore girl has a more mildly worded IEP and I would like to show her her plan since she thinks there is some language in the IEP that is not there. But she and the junior boy are friends, so if I show her her IEP, he will likely find out and ask to see his own IEP. I am not sure I should show the junior boy his IEP for the reasons I mentioned in 1 and 2.
     
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  3. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Have you talked with your SpEd counterpart in your school? Going over the complete IEP in general is his or her concern. What you might want to do is discuss the goals and accommodations for your particular room. If you're not following them (such as that one who requires more breaks than you're comfortable giving), maybe that is a good incentive to start. If the student isn't following them, this might be a perfect time to discuss how you and the student can work as a team to hit those goals.
     
  4. Jerry Dill

    Jerry Dill Companion

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    There are open recommendations by the doctor that contain some ambiguities. The question about how many breaks is sufficient for the student is an ambiguous area of the IEP.
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Ah. That is something you should clarify with the IEP writer. It may be left ambiguous on purpose because the breaks are as needed.
     
  6. Tulipteacher

    Tulipteacher Companion

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    Where I am, students attend their IEP meetings in in middle school the year they turn 13 or 14 (I can't remember which.) But my freshmen have all attended at least 1 IEP meeting before freshman year. They are present for the whole meeting, so they hear the information presented about their eligibility, their performance level, and so on. They participate in making the plan for their accommodations, and they sign the IEP along with the other attendees.

    If they were not there, then they definitely need to know their accommodations, because it is also important that they begin to advocate for themselves. You could tell them, according to the IEP, you get X, Y, and Z accommodations. But I do not think it is your place as a general ed teacher to show them the whole IEP. If they have not already seen it, it possibly was done on purpose by their parents.
     
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  7. Tulipteacher

    Tulipteacher Companion

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    For what it's worth, I have never seen a student in general ed classes with breaks more frequent than every 30 min, and that is rare. So if the IEP is ambiguous, I would not do more frequent than every 30 min. How long are your classes?
     
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  8. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    My IEP was for the gifted program from early elementary through middle or high school and I remember always being in the meetings and knowing what was on it. Middle school I feel like I even saw the actual, physical IEP.
    I don't know if that's different because it was gifted rather than special ed or a learning disability, but I definitely knew what was on it.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I'd advise you to consult the student's teacher of record or the special ed facilitator before doing anything.
     
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  10. Go Blue!

    Go Blue! Connoisseur

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    Here, you cannot have an IEP meeting without the student being present (unless you can document they have chronic attendance issues). Students are always at the meetings so they can advocate/explain themselves at least at the MS and HS level. All reports from social workers, psychologists, therapists, etc. are read aloud so the kids can understand where they are. Also, students cannot be denied access to seeing their IEP (it is supposed to be a plan to help them), but I've never had a kid ask to see it; I HAVE had kids ask for certain accommodations/modifications.

    In regards to the breaks, I would enforce what you feel comfortable with/that you find necessary until you are told otherwise. This semester I have about 40 IEP kids and every single one has "multiple or frequent breaks" - it's like a standard accommodation they throw on everyone's IEP like "extended time." I'm usually the one to initiate it and will ask a kid to take a moment outside if I see them losing it. Most kids don't ask for their break, but will ask to go to the bathroom/get water - which I allow. If your students start abusing the breaks, talk to their IEP Case Manager with the kid together to work out a solution.
     
  11. Special-t

    Special-t Enthusiast

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    The student with anger management issues knows his own struggle and won't be surprised. He might actually be relieved to know more about his challenges so he can take steps to gain control. Likely he sees the school psychologist. Maybe you can arrange a meeting where the three of you discuss strategies.
     
  12. vickilyn

    vickilyn Magnifico

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    Apr 5, 2017

    OP, are you SPED certified? If not, you really need to follow the recommendations of the SPED department. Seek clarification for yourself as necessary, and leave it up to the SPED facilitator about whether or not the student actually reads the entire IEP, and it is their job to explain the IEP, not yours.. The complete IEP contains more than goals and objectives, including test results that may not be something you should share with the student. Our students are present in the meetings and hear the goals and objectives, but they don't actually read the IEP's. If you disagree with the number of breaks, take it up with SPED. IEP's can be modified to be more in line with what the student needs, but not necessarily what a teacher wants.

    If you do have SPED certification, you should have no problem seeking out the case managers or school social workers or psychologists.
     
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  13. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Where is the multiple like button? I could only like it once.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Sad to say, many times the verbally agreed upon ideas are poorly explained in an IEP. So the true sentiment and use of the accommodation is never fully explained leaving the student having a different idea of the meaning of it than those who read the shortened version later.
     

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