Creating an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for a child with special needs in Alabama is not an easy task. You can’t just have a few people lay out a kid’s educational future within a couple of minutes. It is a team effort requiring multiple perspectives to get the job done.

Before you set up those meetings to lay out the child’s IEP, you should know which people are crucial towards ensuring that this plan will be beneficial for everyone. Your child deserves the best care and an education that is both accessible and challenging to them just like everyone else.

The parents

You and your spouse are arguably the most important members of the team as you two have more experience working with your kid than everyone else there. You need to inform the group what your child excels and could use some work on in terms of behavior and the types of tasks given to them.

Teachers

IDEA requires at least one special education and one regular teacher to be on the team. While your input is valuable, these people have the best sense of how your child performs academically. The special education teacher may have a good idea of what your kid needs from their experience with other similar students, while a regular teacher can give you a sense of how your child works in a normal classroom setting.

Other school representatives

The team needs to consist of a representative who has the authority on district resources, someone who is responsible for providing transition services and a person to interpret the evaluation data. While you and your teachers can monitor your child’s behavior and performance, these people are essential towards determining your kid’s true academic potential and what resources are available help them. They’ve worked with enough children with special needs to know what they are able to provide and what it will ultimately cost them.

Your child

When it comes to post secondary goals and transition services, IDEA requires the child to attend the meeting to help reach their goals. Otherwise, the Department of Education states that it is up to the parents on whether the child should attend the meeting and provide input or not. These meetings are all about their future, so it might feel fairer to give them a say on the matter. You could get a better sense of their strengths and weaknesses and learn something that can improve your relationship along with their academic performance.

Other help

While all the previously mentioned people are required to attend the meeting, you or the school can invite someone else to discuss the child’s needs on the IEP. This could include a disability professional, a psychologist or even a family member or friend who has spent a lot of time with your kid. Even though you already do have quite a bit of people working on the issue, it might help to have an additional voice contribute to the discussion.

If you need further assistance on the rules of developing an IEP, consider contacting legal assistance to get information on how it is made and what the overall process is like. Your child needs the best education Alabama has to offer to succeed later in their life.