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How to Organize Your Child's IEP Binder

Blog Type:  Learning Disabilities Date Posted:  Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Byline:  By Amanda Morin

organizing a binder

This resource originally appeared on Understood.org. Reprinted courtesy of Understood.org ©2018. Understood, LLC. All rights reserved.
This is one of four posts about navigating the IEP process. Read the other articles: Questions to Ask Before and During Your Child's IEP Meeting5 Important Things to Do After the IEP Meeting, and 6 Tips to Make Sure Your Child's IEP Is Implemented Properly.
 

Making an IEP binder is a great way to keep information organized and at the ready when you need it.

 

Making an IEP binder is a great way to keep information organized and at the ready when you need it. An IEP binder can help you prepare for IEP meetings and stay up to date on your child’s progress. This powerful tool can also help you communicate and collaborate with teachers and your child’s IEP team. Here’s what you need to get started:

  • A three-ring binder
  • Six tabbed section dividers
  • A three-hole punch

Organizing an IEP binder with your child’s evaluation reports, IEP, report cards and other paperwork may sound like a lot of work. But this guide walks you through what to gather and where to put it.

Start With the IEP Binder Checklist

Print this IEP binder checklist and put it in the very front of your binder. The checklist has details about what you can put in each of the tabbed sections in your IEP binder. The checklist has another very important purpose: You can update it as you add new paperwork. As your binder grows, this checklist will help you see what you’ve updated and when you updated it.

Tab 1: Communication

Print and fill out a school contact sheet and put it in the front of this section. The contact sheet will help you quickly find and reach out to key people with questions or concerns. Next is the parent-school communication log. Print one out and use it to help you keep track of meetings, phone calls, emails and other important interactions you have with your child’s teacher and school. As you fill out each entry, be sure to note what was discussed and what was decided. The rest of this section is for letters and important emails. Put the newest ones on top, behind the communication log. Why keep printed copies of emails? Having a paper version in your binder means you’ll have it on hand for meetings, so you can easily find and reference what was said. As you file letters and emails in this section, remember to include a brief summary of each one in the communication log.

Tab 2: Evaluations

Start this section with the request or referral for evaluation. After that put in your consent to evaluate. Keeping these two documents together can help you see if the school completes the evaluation in a timely manner. Next comes the school-based evaluation report. (It’s handy to have this in the same section as your request for evaluation, so you can match up each request with the evaluation results.) If your child has had a private evaluation, include that here too. Down the road, your child might have another school-based evaluation. If so, file it as a trio that includes the new request or referral and the new consent form. Put this new set of documents on top of the previous set. Also, in this section, you may want to consider flagging key information with paper clips or sticky notes. Come up with a system that can help you quickly find what you want to discuss with the IEP team.

Tab 3: IEP

It’s a good idea to start this section of your IEP binder with a copy of your rights and procedural safeguards the school gives you. That’s because whenever you go to an IEP meeting, the IEP team will offer another copy. It’s important information. But if you show the school you already have it, you can avoid taking home another big stack of paper! In this section, file your child’s IEP and the prior written notice for each meeting related to the IEP. Many schools attach meeting notes to the prior written notice form. Keep those notes here as well as your own notes from the IEP meeting. The IEP needs to be updated annually. But you may have more than one meeting a year. And if changes are made to the IEP, put the newest plan and prior written notice on top, behind the procedural safeguards.

Tab 4: Report Cards/Progress Notes

The federal law, the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (IDEA), says you have to be updated on your child’s progress toward his IEP goals at least as frequently as you get progress reports on his general education. Keep these progress notes and report cards in this section. And if you want to keep track of your child’s progress on your own, print and use this IEP goal tracker. It can help you monitor your child’s progress toward each annual goal in the IEP.

Tab 5: Sample Work

Use this section to file samples of your child’s homework or classwork that show signs of progress or concern. (This is especially important for work that’s noted on the goal-tracker form.) It’s a good idea to file samples at least monthly. And just like in the other sections of your IEP binder, put the newest stuff on top to help you find the most up-to-date information.

Tab 6: Behavior

In this section, file a copy of the school’s code of conduct. If your child is in middle or high school, his teachers may have also sent home class-specific behavior plans and rules. Keep copies of these here, too. Next comes your child’s behavior intervention plan or behavior contract, if he has one. This is also the place to file disciplinary notices, if your child receives any. Why keep these in your IEP binder? Because your child has additional rights and protection if the behavior he’s disciplined for could be related to his disability.

Consider Including a Supply Pouch

Since your IEP binder will come to IEP meetings with you, you may want to add a zippered supply pouch. Stocking it with some pens and an extra set of sticky notes means you’ll have one less thing to worry about during your IEP meeting. And last but not least, remember that organizing your child’s IEP binder may take some time at first. But once the initial steps are done, it’s easy to maintain! When it comes to overseeing your child’s IEP, the less time you have to spend hunting for paperwork, the more time you can focus on questions to ask before and during the IEP meeting.

About the Author

Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

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Tags:  IEP special education

6 Tips to Make Sure Your Child’s IEP Is Implemented Properly

Blog Type:  Learning Disabilities Date Posted:  Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Byline:  By Kristin Stanberry

This resource originally appeared on Understood.org. Reprinted courtesy of Understood.org ©2018. Understood, LLC. All rights reserved.
This is one of four posts about navigating the IEP process. Read the other articles: Questions to Ask Before and During Your Child's IEP Meeting, 5 Important Things to Do After an IEP Meeting, and How to Organize Your Child's IEP Binder.

Your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) has been set in motion. How well is it working? Is the school delivering what it promised? Try these tips to monitor the situation throughout the year.

1. Check in with the teacher.

The parent-teacher conference is a good time to take the pulse of your child’s progress. But you can also check in regularly to make sure your child’s IEP is being followed. Share any concerns based on what you’re seeing at home. If your child spends most of his time in the general education classroom, his teacher will know if he’s being pulled out of class to work with special educators as promised in his IEP.

2. Contact the team leader if the IEP isn’t being honored.

If you think the school isn’t delivering all of the services and supports in your child’s IEP, don’t sit and stew. Be proactive and contact the IEP team leader. Give that person a chance to clear up misunderstandings and correct any problems. The leader may appreciate your alert. If corrective action is required, make sure it happens. Be friendly but firm.

3. If things don’t improve, request a special IEP team meeting.

If you take the steps above but aren’t satisfied with the results, you can request a special IEP meeting. You don’t have to wait until next year’s IEP meeting to iron out any problems. Getting the entire team together may be the only way to put your child’s IEP back on track as soon as possible.

4. Know your child’s special educators and their schedules.

The IEP should state what special education services your child will receive and for how many hours per week. You can ask the IEP team leader for the names of the special educators assigned to help your child. Find out what services they’ll provide and on which days. That way you can casually ask your child, “Did you spend time with Mrs. Smith today?” Your child may tell you a little—or a lot!

5. Read the progress reports.

Your child’s IEP includes measurable annual goals. It should also explain how his progress toward goals will be measured and when this will be reported to you. Many schools send IEP progress reports to parents when report cards are issued. Find out when you can expect progress reports and mark the dates on your calendar. Carve out time to compare the IEP with how well your child is progressing.

6. Watch, listen and read between the lines.

Keep an eye on your child’s homework and classroom test scores. Is the teacher adjusting assignments as noted in the IEP? If so, is your child making progress? Ask your child if he’s getting his accommodations, whether it’s extra time on tests or assistive technology. Talk to your child in a way that suits his age and personality. Listen carefully to what he says—or doesn’t say—about school and learning. Jot down your concerns.

About the Author

Kristin Stanberry is a writer and editor specializing in parenting, education and consumer health/wellness.

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Tags:  IEP IEP meeting learning parents special education

Navigating the IEP Process: Tips for Parents

Blog Type:  Learning Disabilities Date Posted:  Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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Landmark360.org curated several articles from Understood.org that help parents navigate the often confusing, frustrating, and painstaking process of developing, implementing, and monitoring a child's IEP. Thank you to Understood.org for sharing their content.

Understood.org Resources

Other Resources

Below are links to sites that explain the federal laws and regulations governing the education of students with disabilities.

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Tags:  learning parents special education

Questions to Ask Before and During Your Child’s IEP Meeting

Blog Type:  Learning Disabilities Date Posted:  Tuesday, March 20, 2018 Byline:  By Amanda Morin

men and women sitting at table meeting

This resource originally appeared on Understood.org. Reprinted courtesy of Understood.org ©2018. Understood, LLC. All rights reserved.
This is one of four posts about navigating the IEP process. Read the other articles: 5 Important Things to Do After the IEP Meeting, 6 Tips to Make Sure Your Child's IEP Is Implemented Properly, and How to Organize Your Child's IEP Binder.

Even if it’s not your first one, IEP meetings can still be confusing at times. Asking questions can help you be more informed, prepared, and confident as a member of the IEP team. Scroll down to see questions you can ask—both before and during an IEP meeting. Keep in mind that not all of the questions will apply to your child or situation. You can also print out these questions by clicking the view or download link below. You can then keep track of answers on the printout.

Questions to Ask Before and During the IEP Meeting (View / Download)

Questions to Ask Before the IEP Meeting

  • What is the goal of this IEP meeting?
  • Can we create an agenda for this meeting?
  • May I have a copy of my child’s most recent IEP document to follow along as we talk in the meeting?
  • Could you please provide me with prior access to copies of the notes/reports that we’ll be going over?
  • Who at the meeting will be qualified to interpret the results of my child’s independent educational evaluation?

Questions to Ask During the IEP Meeting

  • How does everyone at the meeting know or work with my child?
  • Could you tell me about my child’s day so I can understand what it looks like?
  • Can you explain how what you’re seeing from my child is different from other kids in the classroom?
  • Could we walk through the current program and IEP plan piece by piece?
  • How is my child doing in making progress toward his IEP goals?
  • What changes in goals would the team recommend?
  • Is this a SMART goal?
  • How is this goal measured and my child’s progress monitored?
  • How will my child be assessed according to grade level?
  • Who will work on that with my child? How? When? Where and how often?
  • What training does the staff have in this specific intervention?
  • What does that accommodation/instructional intervention look like in the classroom?
  • What support will the classroom teacher have in putting these accommodations/interventions into place?
  • What can I do at home to support the IEP goals?
  • I’d like to see the final IEP before agreeing to any changes suggested at this meeting. When can I see a copy?
  • When will the changes to his program begin?
  • How will we let my child know about any program changes?
  • Can we make a plan for keeping in touch about how everything is going?
  • May I have a copy of the notes the teacher referenced during this meeting?
  • If I have questions about the information I’ve been given about my child’s rights, who’s the person to talk to for answers?
  • Who’s the person to contact if I want to call another meeting?

Read about important things to do after your child’s IEP meeting. Get tips on how to make sure your child’s IEP is implemented properly. And learn how an IEP binder can help you stay up to date on your child’s progress.

About the Author

Amanda Morin

Amanda Morin is a parent advocate, a former teacher and the author of The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education.

more learning disabilities posts

Tags:  IEP IEP meeting parents special education
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