For your child on the autism spectrum, the IEP (Individualized Education Program) is the most important document in his or her school file. Having an IEP that comprehensively addresses all your child’s needs is critical to his or her success in school and future development. Developing an effective IEP for children with autism presents additional challenges because schools are often reluctant to provide the intensity of services the child needs due to financial and staffing limitations. So it’s important for you to know what to ask for and what services to discuss during the IEP meeting so your child with autism gets what he or she is entitled to at school.
Extended School Year (ESY) services or programs are offered when school is not in session and/ or are an extension of the school day.
Developing a schedule that reflects minimal unstructured time and active engagement in learning activities is essential. Schedules are dependent on your child’s individual needs. They may include short blocks of time and/or the use of more organized arrangements during unstructured times.
Teaching in natural environments where social/ behavioral skills are needed is important. This training gives your family access to resources to implement strategies for appropriate social and behavioral skills so transitions from home to school and school to home are smoother.
What supports are needed to help students learn new, appropriate behaviors, and prevent problem behaviors?
What are the end-of-school goals and, in each grade level, what skills must be built to reach those long-term goals?
What is the ratio of students to staff members needed to enable your child to function in, and benefit from, school activities and environments?
Which language forms and functions will enhance effective communication across settings? Does your child require assistive technology?
There are strategies in placed based on social skills assessment and curriculum and they can be provided across settings is essential as a core characteristic of ASD social communication.
Staff and teachers must have adequate training about autism and strategies to implement an IEP for students with ASD.
Do teachers and school staff have access to assistive technologies to implement the student’s IEP? Does the school site have access to teaching strategies to support positive behavioral systems and social skills training?
Since the IEP is developed in an IEP meeting, you must have a strategy going into that meeting if you hope to develop the plan your child needs. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and request services. The more you advocate for your child, the greater your chances of having a successful IEP meeting and that he or she will get the services needed.
And as always, if you feel overwhelmed and you need help, please contact us.
American Advocacy Group is on the front lines every day, making positive change happen for people diagnosed with Autism, Down syndrome and a range of diagnoses across the continuum. As a leading advocate for all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, and the premier provider of the support and services people want and need, we understand the system and know how to take action in regard to your best interests.
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