Your Child May Need an Individualized Education Plan – by Karen Buccola

How did your child do this year in school?  Were you disappointed when you saw the grades on that final report card?   It can be a letdown from that feeling most of us have in the fall when the school year is just beginning and your child is starting off the year with a clean slate.  Now it’s the end of the year and you find yourself asking, “What happened?” Or you may have been frustrated because you’ve been watching your son or daughter struggle but haven’t known why or how to help.

It’s hard to face up to the reality that your child may not be living the dream you had when you first held them as an infant and you thought they could be a doctor, lawyer or even President of the United States.  But life and school often turn out to be much more of a struggle than we remember it being when we were kids. 

Take heart.  Next year CAN be different.  The first step is not to be afraid to ask your child’s school for help.  Ask the school to test your child to see if there are any learning issues, such as attention problems, dyslexia, poor working memory, or visual or auditory processing deficits.  Sometimes a request for testing is met with a less-than-enthusiastic response by the school administration, because testing is an involved and expensive process.  However, by law, you have the right to ask to have these tests conducted and within a reasonable amount of time.  The results will be shared with you at a formal meeting where everything should be explained to your satisfaction.  If an issue is found, then an IEP or Individualized Education Plan is created for your student.  Each year this plan will be reviewed in a meeting with the school and your family.

In a future blog, we’ll provide some helpful hints on how to get the most from your child’s IEP meeting.  In the meantime, don’t wait to get the process started.  Your child needs help and help is there if you ask for it.

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