Your child’s IEP has been drafted, but now you have to learn about the actual school and class where the IEP will be put into action. You have the right to learn about the place where your child will go to school – which we’ll call the placement – and how the program will be delivered.
Your IEP will list the kind of class placement that your district is offering. This can range from placement in a general educational classroom to placement in a specialized class in a specialized environment, or even a state approved private school. You, as the parent, are entitled to know more about the placement. Here are some important tips:
1) Ask questions:
Ask for a class list, minus the names of the children, showing
– IQs and classifications of the children
Other facts that might be important to know:
– the ages of the children
– the boy to girl ratio.
– the number of children with 1:1 aides and whether they are there for safety reasons.
– how behavioral issues are handled in the class and the school.
– the methods of specialized education that will be used
– who will be working with your child and their qualifications
2) Always visit to learn about the learning environment
Possible learning environment concerns:
– the environment will be too loud or hectic for a child who is highly distracted or who has sensory issues
– the school doesn’t meet your child’s safety needs
– the class size will not allow your child to get the instructional attention they need in order to learn
3) DON’T ASSUME ANYTHING!
-Don’t assume that a private placement will be better than a public placement.
-Don’t assume that a public placement will be better than a private placement, either!
-Don’t assume that the school you heard about from friends will work for your child. Always visit and learn for yourself.
You don’t have to try out a placement. If you feel that your child will not move forward in the offered placement – either academically or socially and emotionally – you can object.
Personalized advice along the way is helpful. Remember to always communicate firmly and politely with your district, preferably in writing!