(Please read background post here)
What is the best class for my child?
This is the most common question that I hear from parents who are getting ready to have a Turning 3* or a Turning 5** IEP meeting. It is also a common concern for parents whose children have been recently diagnosed and will be in a similar situation. The truth is, the right placement depends on your child’s needs, and your child’s needs should be at the heart of every IEP meeting that will result in a recommendation for placement for any student.
“But, wait”! You may say. “My child has just been diagnosed with Williams Syndrome. Doesn’t that mean that he will need a much more restrictive environment, like perhaps a 12.1.4 self-contained class”? Not necessarily. Having a diagnosis does not necessarily mean that the student will AUTOMATICALLY be placed in a certain type of setting. The diagnosis, or educational label, may inform the team and the providers as to what methods, strategies, and techniques may be useful for your child to learn optimally, but labels do not determine specific needs for every child. Neither can a diagnosis determine how much contact your child will have with his/her typically developing peers.
Ideally, the IEP team at your child’s school (or at the regional Committee of Special Education) will have conducted an evaluation that covers every area of your child’s development. This evaluation will help determine specific needs in the different domains, such as the cognitive, social, affective, and language domains. You should make sure that the team that evaluated your child explains what was observed and what this would mean for assessing your child’s recommendation. Please remember that you are also an integral part of the IEP team, and your feedback will provide invaluable input and will help the team determine what is best in your child’s case.
What happens if members of the team disagree on what recommendation to make? Of course, in an unrealistic world all members of all teams agree on everything. Of course, this is not a good way to grow. We do well when we reveal our ideas and share them. We may come up with better scenarios. As a parent, do not be hesitant to share what you think and feel! It is important!
What happens if no matter what is said, the team does not agree with the parent? There are certain resources to pursue in this case. We will explore these and more in Part 3. Stay tuned!
As always, if you have questions, drop me a note.
- Turning 3 refers to an IEP meeting carried out when the child ages out of the Early Intervention Program and is ready to join preschoolers.
- Turning 5 refers to an IEP meeting carried out when the child ages out of preschool and is ready to join elementary school peers.