What are the Components of an IEP in Arizona
What are the components of an IEP in Arizona? First, an IEP stands for an Individualized Education Plan.
What is an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)?
IEP is a legally binding document codified in state and federal statutes. If a student is eligible for special education or other education or modifications within the school, they are legally granted those and not discriminated against.
Let’s talk about this. Say a parent has requested an IEP, the student has been evaluated and assessed, and they are eligible for an IEP. You sit down for the IEP meeting, in which a parent or guardian is included.
Individualized Education Plan Components
So, let’s discuss the components of the IEP.
We’ll start first with the goals. There will be goals that the student is expected to hit. They might be academic, behavioral, or emotional. They may be short-term, and they may be long-term. It varies and depends on the student’s needs, but there are goals. So, what are we all expecting of the student?
Progress Level Monitoring of the Child’s Goals
Next, after the goals, there will be information on where the child is and where they are achieving their level at the moment. Again, this might be academic, emotional, or behavioral, and we need to know where the student is currently. So, we have the goal, where they are, and how they will get there. It is the progress monitoring of the goals.
Student’s Accommodation | Special Education Services Provision
So, how will they be assessed, how often, and is there an end or a start date? They’re going to get specific on that. Also, what actual accommodation is the student going to receive? It might be special education being pulled out. It could be in the classroom, additional services, or therapy coming to the school.
Again, there are just so many things, and it’s very fact sensitive, but overall, what sort of accommodation will this student receive? How often? For what duration? And what is it that’s going to be happening?
Frequency of the Student’s Re-evaluation and Assessment
Again, this is important because an IEP is a legally binding document, meaning the school and all of the staff have to abide by this. So, that’s important. What services or accommodation is the student going to receive? Also, how frequently are they going to be monitored, and how? We have spoken about that before.
Also, on an annual review, there’ll be a statement of how the student is doing. Have they reached those goals and feel they’re on the right track? Do the goals or services need to be reassessed? And then, every three years, the student will be reevaluated. Then the process starts over or is carried over depending on how the assessment goes. So, those are the main components of an IEP.
IEP Components in Arizona
To summarize, you have goals for the future and progress monitoring—so, how often will you be testing or assessing that student to see if they’re hitting their goals? How are they going to get there? What services or accommodations will the school handle in the regular classroom and outside of the classroom?
Will they bring in other help, such as therapy or other accommodations? Also, where the student started, their initial assessment, and an annual report, where you’ll see how they’ve made progress, the plan, and if they need reassessment.
So, we can break it down into:
- What are the needs of the student?
- What are the goals, and how are we getting there?
- Are we there, or do we need more evaluations?
- Do we need more accommodations?
And those are monitored on an annual basis. And then again, at three years, the student is reassessed. And everyone must comply with an IEP. Furthermore, it is a legally binding document. That’s why it’s so important to have those components that give the student the best opportunity, environment, and accommodations to succeed within their environment.
How Do I Get an IEP For My Child in Arizona?
As a parent or guardian, you can request an IEP evaluation for your child if you think they might need special education services. You can make this request to the school district in which your child attends school. The school district must evaluate whether your child is eligible for special education services.
If the school district determines that your child is eligible for special education services, they will develop an IEP for your child. The IEP is a document that outlines the special education services that your child will receive.
What Is the Arizona IEP Timeline?
As a parent with a child in the Arizona IEP process, it’s essential to understand the timeline for each process step. This timeline can vary depending on your child’s individual needs and the school district in which you live.
However, in general, the Arizona IEP timeline looks like this:
- The parent requests an IEP evaluation from the school district.
- The School district evaluates the child to determine if they are eligible for special education services.
- If the child is eligible for special education services, the school district develops an IEP.
- The IEP is reviewed and revised as necessary at least once per year.
What Should You Not Say in an Arizona IEP Meeting?
What things should a parent or guardian not say in an IEP meeting? First, I want to let you know that if you’re ever concerned about an IEP meeting, you have the right to have legal counsel. So, you can have an attorney with you if that’s what you decide.
If you decide you’d like to go on your own, these are just some tips you would not likely want to say in the IEP meeting. So, the first one is that parents often want to discuss what’s best for their child, and they’ll use the terms “what’s best for my child?”
Parents Should Say These Instead
It’s best if you say “need.” So, instead, you should say, my child needs, and then fill in the blank if it’s an accommodation, an evaluation, but your child needs these things. You must communicate to the group, and the school district, that your child needs these things. It’s not what’s best for them; they need to learn. And they’re granted by federal statutes. That’s why you’re here in the IEP meeting to start with.
Parents Shouldn’t Feel Pressured in Signing an IEP
Second, and this is the most common, I think parents don’t realize that an IEP is a legally binding document that the school must comply with. That means that after you sign it, it’s legally binding; therefore, it’s a little bit more difficult to go back and change.
Sometimes, parents say, “okay, I’ll sign the document today.”
I think that’s a mistake. I think it’s important to take time, sleep on it, have counsel, an attorney who specializes in education look it over, and maybe healthcare providers as well. But take your time before you sign it. You shouldn’t feel pressured, and you should never say, okay, I’m going to sign it right now. Read it over. And if you have questions, do your research.
It is crucial for your student because the school must adhere to these things. There’s no option. They absolutely must. So, if you have any concerns that they haven’t included something, or you don’t like how something is worded or the goals, speak up and make sure you let them know you have concerns. You should absolutely say that. And take your time before you sign it, don’t feel pressured to sign it right there on the spot. You absolutely can take time.
Parents Have the Right to Speak Up and Ask Questions
Another thing not to say is, “let’s just wait and see how my student does.”
That language, like I just talked about, an IEP is a legally binding document. It’s very difficult. Not impossible, but it isn’t easy to amend it after it’s signed. So, you don’t want to wait and see. You want to make sure everything is in order when it’s created and signed by you as a parent. Another thing, I think it’s not what you say but what you don’t say. I believe parents are nervous about asking for something. Again, speaking about evaluations, speak up if you don’t agree with the evaluation or the assessments.
The school absolutely must provide these things. Suppose you disagree with the school employees, maybe the psychologist the school employs. In that case, you have a right to speak up and ask for an independent education evaluation. And the school does have to pay for that and provide that to you. So, remember. I think the biggest takeaway here is parents and guardians don’t realize how much rights they have.
Do You Need an Arizona IEP Attorney?
Understanding the Arizona IEP process can be complicated. If you’re concerned about your child’s education, you may want to consider hiring an IEP attorney. An IEP attorney can help you navigate the IEP process and ensure that your child’s rights are protected.
At Chelle Law, we understand parents’ challenges when advocating for their child’s education. We can help you understand your rights and options under the law. We will work with you to create an individualized education plan that meets your child’s unique needs.
Contact us today to schedule a consultation.
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