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Monday, January 4, 2016

IEP Hell

In The Politics of Autism, I discuss Individualized Education Programs (IEPs): 

Tracy Thompson writes at The Atlantic:
Teachers get a copy of the IEP at the start of the school year, but these can be lengthy documents; my daughter’s at times ran 30 pages (although much of this consisted of form questions). By middle school, when one teacher can have more than 100 students a day, he or she could have 15 or 20 IEPs to read. It’s not easy. IEPs are like legal documents in that you have to extract relevant bits of information from here and there, and put them together. Every parent of a special-education child with whom I’ve interacted (and I belong to a listserve that includes parents like me from states up and down the East Coast) has learned the hard way that you can’t depend on IEPs to convey anything. If you want a teacher to know, say, that your autistic child will go ballistic if he sees some rule inconsistently enforced, or that your child’s ADHD medication starts to wear off by 2 p.m., you have to get that information to the teacher yourself. And due to privacy issues, people like lunchroom or recess monitors may not have access to your child’s IEP—even though problems in social skills are frequently part of the learning-disabilities package, and a lot of social interaction takes place at recess and in the lunchroom.