TPP 318: What Parents Need to Know about the IEP Process, with Therapist Beth Liesenfeld
If you are a parent of a neurodivergent kid with a diagnosed learning disability, you likely have had experience with Individualized Education Plans, otherwise known as IEPs. And if this is you, my hunch is you have some feelings about IEPs and the whole process — the stresses, the unknowns, the fact that it might feel like you have to understand a completely different language just to get the services and supports your child needs and deserves in schools.
I invited occupational therapist Beth Liesenfeld of The IEP Lab to answer your questions around how parents can better prepare for an IEP meeting, what actually makes a good IEP, and how we can go about making changes on an IEP if we realize the accommodations aren’t being effective or if a school isn’t following through in a way the IEP outlines.
Beth is an incredibly knowledgeable expert on the subject of IEPs, and as you’ll hear, she’s truly passionate about providing “insider” information of the school’s process and culture to parents in order to increase collaboration between parents and school staff. Through her school experience, Beth saw inequity in parents' ability to advocate for a quality IEP for their child and now teaches parents a 4-step process to effectively advocate for their children within the schools through online workshops and interactive, supportive online courses.
Beth Liesenfeld, MOT, OTR/L is an occupational therapist passionate about providing “insider” information of the school’s process and culture to parents in order to increase collaboration between parents and school staff! Her company, The IEP Lab, provides online workshops and courses as well as produces The Parent IEP Lab Podcast.
Things you'll learn from this episode
- What parents actually need to know before they go into an IEP meeting
- The criteria for designing an effective and supportive IEP
- The intention behind the goals written into any IEP, and how to create goals that lead to hoped for outcomes
- What parents can do if their children’s school doesn’t follow through on the accommodations provided in their child’s IEP
- How to include accommodations for students who are struggling with school refusal and therefore may not be meeting attendance requirements
- What the IDEA says about seeking an IEP for twice-exceptional children who may be performing “adequately” but aren’t reaching their potential
Resources mentioned for the IEP Process
- The IEP Lab website
- IEP Process Step-By-Step Guide (free download)
- The Ultimate Parent IEP Pre Course (Beth’s signature program)
- COPAA (Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates)
- Wrightslaw Special Education and Advocacy
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
- How to Feel Heard and Communicate Who Your Child is with Ease: How to Write a Vision Statement! (The IEP Podcast - Episode 41)
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