Benefits of IEP
When a child has a serious problem with learning, one of the solutions to consider is an individualized education program (IEP). IEP is a specific approach to education where the program and the classroom activities are created and customized based on the child’s needs. This program is mostly implemented in public schools, completely free of charge.
In order for a child to enjoy all the benefits of IEP, their special needs are analyzed. This process involves a commission that includes experts in special education, a special education teacher, an individual representing the school system, and the child’s parents. This team endeavors to recognize and meet the child’s crucial needs in order for the child to achieve the best academic results despite learning difficulties. The conclusion of this team meeting leads to a specialized plan with precisely defined goals and objectives that need to be reached in the school year, stating the assistance the child will receive.
Who is entitled to an individualized education program?
There are a number of reasons why a child might need a special education program. Some children need psychological support, while some require assistance with overcoming physical obstacles in the classroom and at the school premises in general. Some of the reasons why children might need IEP are:
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- visual impairment
- speech or language impairment
- physical disabilities
- developmental delay
- hearing impairment
Of course, no two children are the same, and it is important that the commission should analyze every request in detail and make the optimal decision.
How does an IEP benefit a child with special needs?
The main importance of IEP lies in the fact that it provides a chance for a normal education. This is why it is important that the individualized education plan should be designed so that it really helps the child in the areas where they need it the most. The program does not concern only the learning itself, but also the assistance with overcoming behavioral, emotional and social challenges. This way, the child will not only meet the requirements of the curriculum, but also get a chance to be an equal member of the school.
Within this program, the child can count on the assistance of professionals who are competent in relevant areas of special education. These individuals oversee the student’s progress, monitor their achievements in the light of short/term and long-term plans, and generally do all they can to provide the best possible education experience. The individual program covers the most important areas of education:
- general education curriculum – where the goal is to, in accordance with the child’s disabilities, master the requirements of the basic curriculum and adopt the same knowledge acquired by the children who are not in the program; depending on the needs, the approach to the curriculum can be different, but the main idea is that the child should have equal educational opportunities, just as if they were in regular education;
- extracurricular activities – i.e., the activities that are not mandatory, but can have multiple positive effects on the child’s quality of life and their self-confidence: playing sports, singing in a choir, playing in the school band, writing for the school newspaper, acting lessons, chess club, etc.
With this approach, the child can be successful in school, and accepted by other children and the community, which is greatly beneficial to further advancement and a successful future career.
What are the benefits of an IEP?
The benefits of an IEP are numerous; they mostly lie in improving the quality of education and life. The realization of the program is possible primarily through shared endeavor by school professionals, parents and children. This is why good communication and openness are important in order for the child to receive the best possible quality of support.
Right to receive an appropriate education
Any child can struggle in the classroom, especially if learning difficulties are involved. Through IEP, the student gets a chance to be an equal member of the school, as is their legal right. The plans are tailored to fit the child’s specific needs, and the parents are actively involved in their design and realization.
People often make the mistake of thinking that the requirements are easier for children with learning disabilities because their curriculum is simplified. However, the difference actually lies in the approach to the subject matter, while learning strategies are often more modern than the way lessons are delivered in a regular class. For instance, the focus can be placed on oral examination, individual work, learning through audio lessons, etc.
The point is to present the subject matter to the child in a way that enables them to adopt it in the best possible way. This means that the child’s integrity is respected, while the progress is planned in accordance with their objective capabilities. It bears repeating that this process actively involves parents, teachers, and, when needed, expert advisors such as psychologists.
Respecting the child and their needs
Learning difficulties can be quite complex, but most students can improve with the right educational plan in place. Regardless of the complexity of the case, the planning involves ensuring that the child’s integrity is respected, so that they do not encounter extra psychological problems. IEP often deals with problems with reading, writing and meeting the curriculum requirements.
Educational work and dedication of the teachers create a healthy environment, where the children are equal members of the class. This requires educating the children who attend the regular program so that they learn about the specific issues their peers face. In this respect, it helps a lot if the child attends regular lessons (with additional assistance) and if they actively participate in school life.
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) stipulates that the child should attend lessons with children without disabilities whenever possible. Accordingly, the child will attend a special class and a separate school only if the disability is such that it renders attending the regular class impossible.
Parents take an active part in the program
The parents need to know that it is their right to be a part of the group that decides on the child’s education and on the place where the child will receive their education. The parents should also be aware of the important fact that schools receive funding for educating children with disabilities.
Everyone has the right to education
When considering the benefits of the concept of Individualized Education Plan, the most important thing to mention is the right to quality education. Ensuring it is not an easy task and it may require the coordination of several professionals who understand the needs of a child with a disability. Bearing all this in mind, IEP is the foundation of special education and of caring for all students, regardless of the degree of learning disability. With a thoughtfully designed and carefully implemented program, it is highly probable that the child will grow up to become an independent and successful person.