IEP Team

Gradually a picture emerges of local IEP teams at work. How teams arrive at their eligibility determinations is vague (cf. Micro Level). IDEA 2004 does not tackle the problem.

A rather typical characterization of IEP teams follows:

“To write an effective IEP for a child with a disability, parents, teachers, other school staff—and often the child—must come together at a meeting to look closely at the child’s unique needs. These individuals combine their knowledge, experience, and commitment to design an educational program that must help the child to be involved in, and progress in, the general education curriculum—that is, the same curriculum as for children without disabilities” (Nichcy).

The Learning Disability Association of America in anticipation of IDEA 2004 authorization made a good point about exactly how determinations are made within meetings:

“LDA supports provisions of the law that reduce the under-identification, over-identification and misidentification of children with specific learning disabilities. In order to accomplish this, LDA believes that the regulations should specify the members of the team that identifies a child suspected of having a learning disability and determines that child’s eligibility for special education and related services.”

Presently a signature of participants indicates attendance only. At the end of a hurried IEP meeting there is a flurry of paperwork and tacit agreement eligibility has been determined. Once in a while an IEP team member disagrees apologetically. But more often than not placement paperwork sails through.

Signature votes would not only improve decision-making clarity, but also yield ad hoc data. One could classify patterns of misidentification leading to in-service training to reduce over-identification.

At a glance it looks like the topic of IEP accountability does not attract much research interest. Ethnography is one tool, personal accounts another.

____________ School Speech Pathology Blog ____________

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