My first year working in secondary education I assumed that by this stage in the student's life both the parents and teachers knew and understood what an IEP was. I encountered however, some teachers who didn't know what IEP stood for, and some parents who thought the IEP was just a yearly "parent-teacher conference." While the IEP meeting is an opportunity for teachers to give updates to parents, a lot more is going on.
What is an IEP?
IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan. This is a document that is developed for each public school student who is eligible for special education. The term "special education" can scare off a lot of parents. This simply means that the general education program isn't meeting the needs of the student so they require an individualized plan with accommodations to help them reach their goals. The IEP is meant to address each student's unique learning difficulties and include specific goals to target them. It is a legally binding document and the school must provide everything it promises in the IEP.
What happens at an IEP meeting?
The law requires that once a year the IEP team reviews the IEP. The IEP team can meet more often that once a year depending on the needs of the student. The point of the meeting is to make sure the student's IEP is working for them. It gives an opportunity for parents to discuss their child's strengths and weaknesses with teachers. If the student didn't meet any or all of his goals, you can discuss new ideas to help the student. This may mean modifying the goal, adjusting expectations, or giving the student more/different kinds of services/supports.
The IEP meeting is when parents, teachers, and the school can give and get input on how the student is doing. The IEP needs to be revised as the student makes progress and faces new challenges in the academic curriculum.
Who attends the IEP meeting?
The IEP Team will attend every IEP meeting. The IEP team includes:
What is discussed at the IEP Meeting?
The IEP being discussed at the meeting is considered a draft IEP. Some schools create the IEP in advance and then share it at the IEP meeting. Other schools develop it together during the meeting. Since it is a draft, suggested changes can be made during the meeting.
Every IEP meeting will cover these things:
What is in an IEP?
Each IEP will look different as they are made to cater to each student's unique needs. Every IEP however, will contain the following things:
I hope this gave you good insight into what happens in an IEP meeting. Remember, the IEP is more than just a "parent-teacher meeting," it is an opportunity to make positive changes in a student's life. For more information on IEPs, click below!
Hey there! Here's a peek into my therapy room at a private clinic. If you know me well, you know I love decorating and organizing! Every week I travel between different sites (schools, clinic, nursing home), so I need to have an organized space where I feel comfortable and happy.
Here's the view from the door:
The hardest part when decorating was trying to find a theme that would suit my varying clientele. I work with the pediatric through geriatric population, however most of my clients are kids and they're the ones that strongly benefit from visual aids and a colorful atmosphere. I went with a "Spring Time" theme and hoped for the best when my teenage boy clients came in the room that they wouldn't think this was a "lil kid room". So far, no complaints!
My therapy room is small, so all the space needs to be utilized efficiently. Here's a closer look at the desk area:
The thing that everyone always asks about first is my "Desk Toolbox". This is an 18 Drawer Parts Organizer that I got from Walmart and you can also get it off Amazon. I painted it yellow and used chalkboard labels and liquid chalk to label each drawer with the essential tools I use everyday. My pens, pencils, and colored pencils are in adorable school themed Mason Jars that I got from Etsy. My other art supplies, crayons, scissors, paint dot markers, and glue are in a great number organizer that can also be found at Etsy. The "If you want it, work for it!" sign covers up the motivational treats I offer to some kids so they can't see them through the clear glass (lollipop or sticker). On top of my desk you'll see two of the most essential items in any speech room, hand sanitizer and bubbles!
Here's a look at the wall next to my desk:
I have a full calendar on the back of my door and a day of the week chart next to it. I laminated both and added Velcro to them to make changing the days and months easier. Everything is held up with command strip hooks, even my clothesline pictures!
Here's a close up of my bookshelf:
Storage cubes are a must have in my clinic. When kids see toys on a shelf they instantly want to grab it. I used storage cubes to hide all the toys, games, and tools that I don't want kids to be distracted by. A lot of my co-workers also use curtains that they fasten to the top of the bookshelf with Velcro to cover all the materials on their shelves. Materials targeting the same goals are organized into each cube. For example, if I want to target language goals with an elementary kid I can find all my materials in the bottom left cube, if I have a middle-high school language kid, I go to the left yellow cube. Having my materials sorted this way makes it easier for me to grab and go between back to back clients.
These are some visual aids next to the bookshelf:
My small table that we sit at faces this "Good Listeners" visual aid. Once you've read it to a kid multiple times, you can quickly cue an active kid by simply pointing to this sign and then redirecting the kid back to the activity.
I like to have my more active kids sit in the chair to the left so they have a clear view at the "Good Listeners" visual aid and I'll close the blinds to decrease the distractions. On the opposite wall, there is a "Voice Volume" visual aid. It rates the different level of volume from 0 (a whisper) to 5 (a shout) and has some colorful pictures of different animals to associate with the sound levels. I have a lot of kids working using appropriate voice and knowing when to switch between their "outside voice" to their "inside voice". Every now and then during a session I'll have the kid look at the chart and tell me what kind of voice they were using and remind them that in the room their voice has to be between 1-3.
My "Use Your Words" picture board is the most used thing in my room. I have a lot of nonverbal and expressive delayed kids that utilize this board to communicate with me. I interchange the "I want ___" part with picture symbols depending on the kid. On the long strips below are pictures of all the toys they can pick from. I can add and remove pictures based on what other goals we're targeting or how many choices I want to give the kid.
Here you can see the voice volume chart as well as my "Garden of Good Manners" visual. I have a lot of pragmatic kids, and each flower is labeled with a different pragmatic skill, i.e. "Take Turns," "Say please", or "Say I'm sorry." The kids love to look at the garden and I have incorporated into activities before by having the kid color their own "Good Manner" flower and label the petals with different emotions we talked about or different pragmatic strategies we've discussed.
That's my speech room! I am constantly adding and changing things to it everyday as my clients change and grow, but I am extremely happy with how it turned out! Thanks for taking the tour, let me know what you think!
It's time to go back to school, and as a teacher, your voice is vital!
Take a moment to think about how often you use your voice everyday...
now how would it change your day if you developed a voice disorder?
It's not often that we think about our voice, and if we do it is usually because our voice is gone. For many people, something like laryngitis wouldn't be a long term issue. They may take a few days off work, have a sore throat, rest, and when it's passed their voice will return to normal. However, for some professionals, like teachers, the voice is a key tool in ensuring an effective job performance. A teacher is constantly using their voice, and although many teachers experience some voice changes in their profession they don't seek treatment or changes. The longer a voice problem goes untreated, the worse the problem will become.
Most voice problems are (or should be) preventable. Having good vocal hygiene can reduce the risk of developing voice problems.
So let's self evaluate for a minute. Think about whether or not you commit any of the following vocal abuses:
To be honest...we're all guilty of one or more of those vocal abuses! Teachers especially, are the number 1 offenders of vocal abuse because they use they're using their voice all day with little or no rest.
So...how can we reduce our vocal abuse in the classroom?
Here's some ideas:
Put these 10 tips into practice this school year and see if it makes a difference in your quality of voice!
For more information on the voice check out my pages below!
Liz Molina M.S. CCC-SLP