The atmosphere at school can be difficult for children with Aspergers. Education, including academics, physical, and social learning may create a web of insecurity for the child. Even those children who excel in academics can suffer from poor grades due to the stress and anxiety brought on by social and physical deficits. This is why thorough assessments and an individualized education plan, or IEP are so vital.
What is an IEP?
An Individualized Education Plan, most commonly referred to as an IEP, is a legal contract for special education services from the local public school system. This contract specifically indicates service for the child and includes all necessary accommodations, therapies, and academic goals for the current school year. The IEP must indicate the child's educational placement, either in an inclusion classroom or in a special education resource classroom, for example. It must state the percentage of time for all services and who will conduct these services. Each member of the IEP team must agree to the content and must sign the contract.
The IEP team is a group of people assembled in the best interests of the child with Aspergers. Education administrators, classroom and special education teachers, therapists, the school psychologist, the special education coordinator, and the child's parents are likely members of the IEP team. This team must meet to decide and complete the child's IEP contract. The team must continue to meet until all members agree on the IEP contract. Once the IEP is complete, the IEP team must meet annually to update the contract and can meet more often if changes are neces-sary. Any member of the IEP can initiate a meeting. All members of the IEP team are equal con-tributors.
What does the IEP mean for Aspergers?
So, what does all this mean for the child with Aspergers? Education that is structured to meet the child's specific needs, tailored to the child's strengths and weaknesses, and created to be behaviorally and socially sound. It means accommodations for sensory issues, academic challenges, and physical trials. An IEP is the difference between a successful school experience and a high school dropout, in many cases. An IEP takes what can be a frustrating and embarrassing atmosphere and creates an appropriate learning environment. An IEP may be the key to the future for a child with Aspergers.
As the parent of a child with Aspergers it is essential to really understand the IEP process to help your child to get the best that they can out of school. You will need to play a very proactive role to ensure that the IEP meets your child's needs and that the school stick to the plan, by regular monitoring and reviewing.