As they explained to their live audience of close to 2,000 listeners, the first step in creating an effective IEP or 504 Plan is to fully understand the issues with which your child is dealing by having a thorough evaluation, one that looks beyond labels or diagnoses. They noted that it's important to keep in mind that these plans need to be individualized, and that administering a standard battery of tests may not be sufficient to get to the source of your child's problems.
The assessment that begins the IEP or 504 process needs to delve deeply into the specific areas of breakdown. It needs to look not just at a child's challenges, but also look at strengths, since these can be leveraged to help to bypass challenges. Likewise, areas of interest or affinities should be identified, since these can help your child become involved in their academics. Presenting a sports obsessed struggling reader a book about baseball or football is more likely to keep his or her interest than having that same student read about travel or music.
Another key point of the webinar was the importance of goals. Having appropriate goals is critical to a successful plan. Goals set out in an IEP or 504 Plan should be:
- Specific, objective, and quantifiable
- Should include standardized measures
- Must contain a clear understanding of:
- Who is responsible for implementation
- The frequency of assessment
- The mechanism for reporting to parents
- A clear understanding, upfront, of what constitutes sufficient progress.
You can listen to the webinar in its entirety on the ADDitude website, or watch it on YouTube, below.